National Park Visitation Set New Record Contributing Over $50 Billion to Nation’s Economy in 2022

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Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain NP. Credit: NPS

New report shows visitor spending contributed $50.3 billion nationwide, supported nearly 380,000 jobs

The Department of the Interior yesterday announced that visitor spending near national park communities in 2022 resulted in a record high $50.3 billion benefit to the nation’s economy and supported 378,400 jobs.

“At the Interior Department, we understand that nature is essential to the health, well-being and prosperity of every family and every community in America. But outdoor recreation is not just good for the soul, it’s a significant driver of our national and local economies and job sustainability. When people visit one of our amazing parks, they are contributing to the community around them. That’s why our Administration is working so hard through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to provide resources to the National Park System for critical infrastructure and maintenance needs.”

– Secretary Deb Haaland

The National Park Service report, 2022 National Park Visitor Spending Effects, finds that nearly 312 million visitors spent $23.9 billion in communities within 60 miles of a national park. Of the 378,400 jobs supported by visitor spending, 314,600 jobs were in park gateway communities.

“Since 1916, the National Park Service has been entrusted with the care of our national parks. With the help of volunteers and partners, we safeguard these special places and share their stories with more than 300 million visitors every year. The impact of tourism to national parks is undeniable: bringing jobs and revenue to communities in every state in the country and making national parks an essential driver to the national economy.”

– National Park Service Director Chuck Sams

Annual appropriations for the NPS totaled $3.3 billion in fiscal year 2022, effectively turning a $1 investment in national parks into a more than $10 boost to the nation’s economy.

The top 15 parks by visitor contribution are:

  • Great Smoky Mountains NP – $3,262,390,000
  • Blue Ridge PKWY – $1,674,075,000
  • Golden Gate NRA – $1,524,345,000
  • Grand Canyon NP – $1,010,477,000
  • Zion NP – $961,270,000
  • Rocky Mountain NP – $911,894,000
  • Cape Hatteras NS – $864,609,000
  • Grand Teton NP – $757,041,000
  • Cape Cod NS – $750,304,000
  • Denali NP&PRES – $713,505,000
  • Arcadia NP – $690,712,000
  • Yosemite NP – $683,739,000
  • Natchez Trace PKWY – $640,352,000
  • Yellowstone NP – $599,600,000
  • Mount Rushmore NMEM – $551,293,000

The latest report is informed by new socioeconomic monitoring survey data, which greatly increases the accuracy of spending estimates for each park and helps the National Park Service learn more about park visitors. This advanced monitoring also delivers a more accurate estimate of the economic contributions of parks to communities.

Results from the Visitor Spending Effects report series are available online via an interactive tool. Users can view year-by-year trend data and explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value-added, and economic output effects by sector for national, state and local economies. The interactive tool is available on the Visitor Spending Effects webpage.

The annual peer-reviewed economics report was prepared by economists from the National Park Service. Learn more about how NPS-managed lands and programs provide economic benefits on the NPS economics webpage.

national parks
National Park Visitor Spending Contributions to the U.S. Economy 2012-2022. Credit: NPS

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