Tourism to Valley Forge Creates $39.9 Million in Economic Benefits

A Soldier Fires a Musket with a Text Graphic Describing Economic Impact to Parks


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News Release Date: April 27, 2018

Contact: Jonathan Parker, 610-342-5182

KING OF PRUSSIA, PA – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 2.1 million visitors to Valley Forge National Historical Park in 2017 spent $26.8 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 426 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $39.9 million.

“Valley Forge National Historical Park welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Steve Sims. “We are delighted to share the story of the Valley Forge Winter Encampment of 1777-1778 and to protect the 3,500 acres of this inspiring landscape for the enjoyment of our visitors. Valley Forge serves as a gateway for visitors traveling to the numerous historic destinations surrounding Greater Philadelphia and we’re proud that the economic impact provided by the park helps to sustain our local communities. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s a big factor in the Philadelphia area economy as well.”

The restaurant ($11.2 million), retail ($4.4 million), and hotel ($3.3 million) sectors accounted for the top three spending categories by visitors to Valley Forge National Historical Park.  In Pennsylvania, more than 10.3 million visitors spent $478.3 million in local communities, supporting 7,473 jobs and providing a cumulative impact of more than $691 million in 2017.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service.  

Nationally the report shows $18.2 billion of direct spending by more than 330 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 306,000 jobs nationally; 255,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $35.8 billion. The lodging sector received the highest direct contributions with $5.5 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 49,000 jobs. The restaurants sector received the next greatest direct contributions with $3.7 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 60,500 jobs.

According to the 2017 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging/camping (32.9 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.5 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (10.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.0 percent), and local transportation (7.5 percent).

Report authors also produce an interactive tool that enable  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 Pennsylvania and how the National Park Service works with Pennsylvania communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to

Last updated: April 27, 2018

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