News Release

National Park Tourism in North Dakota

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Date: May 11, 2018
Contact: Eileen Andes, (701) 623 4466
Contact: Alisha Deegan, (701) 745 3300
Contact: Andrew Banta, (701) 572 9083

New report shows visitor spending supports 643 jobs in North Dakota

MEDORA, ND: A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 733,000 visitors to Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park spent $45.6 million in 2017 in communities near these parks. That spending supported 643 jobs in the surrounding areas and had a cumulative benefit to the state economy of $56.7 million.

“The North Dakota national parks protect cherished resources, and they are a significant driver in the state’s tourism economy,” said North Dakota Group Superintendent Wendy Hart Ross. “We welcome visitors from across the country and around the world to experience these special places. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

The peer-reviewed spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows that nationwide more than 330 million park visitors spent $18.2 billion in communities located within 60 miles of a national park. That spending supported 306,000 jobs nationally; 255,900 of those jobs are found in gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $35.8 billion.

According to the national 2017 report, 32.9% of park visitor spending was for lodging and camping, 27.5% on food and beverages, 12.1% on gasoline and oil, 10.1% on souvenirs and other expenses, and 7.5% on local transportation.

The report authors also produced an interactive tool that enables users to explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: 

To learn more about national parks in North Dakota and how the National Park Service works with communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to 

Last updated: May 15, 2018

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