Although most visitors to the national parks of America come to enjoy the natural beauty of the parks themselves, their visits do not begin or end at the entrance to the park. They are also likely to pass through one of the countless cities and towns surrounding the parks, and these visits can be a boon to the local economy. Visitors to national parks in America, spending money on hotels, buying groceries and more, often spend money outside of these parks.
The new federal government report highlights the huge impact that spending can have. According to the study, last year, visitors to national parks spent more than $ 20 billion on communities within 60 miles of national parks, reports AP.
Visitors had a strong influence on parks across the country. In Yellowstone, the fifth most popular park in terms of the number of visits, travelers spent nearly 513 million dollars in communities adjacent to the park in 2018. Last year, the park was visited by 4.1 million visitors, which helped support nearly 7,100 local jobs, reports AP. The same can be said about other parks and recreation areas managed by the NPS, including less popular ones. 68,000 people who visited the Devil's Tower National Monument in Wyoming spent $ 30 million, which provided more than 400 jobs in the area.
Nationwide figures are even more impressive. Last year, 318 million people visited parks in the NPS system, and these visits helped support 329,000 jobs across the country. The main cost categories for visitors to the parks were overnight accommodation and food and drinks. Travelers spent almost $ 7 billion on places to stay, and $ 4 billion on restaurants and bars located near national parks.
So the next time you go to a national park for a hike or a hike, don't forget to spend a few bucks on a cold beer or hamburger in the city, because NPS benefits not only the wild.