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Spending at Alaska's 23 National Parks Pumps $208.8 million into Local Economies


AMERICA’S GREAT OUTDOORS: Study Shows Spending at National Parks Pumps $31 Billion into Local Economies, Supporting 258,000 Jobs Nationwide

WASHINGTON – Visitors to the National Park System contributed more than $31 billion to local economies and supported 258,000 jobs in 2010, an increase of $689 million and 11,500 jobs over 2009, according to a report issued by the National Park Service today.

Today’s announcement comes in advance of Friday’s White House Conference on Conservation being hosted at the Department of the Interior that will spotlight community-driven conservation efforts as part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.

“Our National Parks and other public lands continue to be economic engines that produce and support jobs in communities across America,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. “It is the reason President Obama signed an Executive Order last month to promote travel and tourism in the United States. By investing in our parks and promoting them to visitors, especially internationally, we can have the dual benefit of an improved National Park System and a stronger economy that produces more jobs.”

Salazar noted that recreation in national parks, refuges, and other public lands alone led to nearly $55 billion in economic contribution and 440,000 jobs in 2009. In January, President Obama launched the creation of a Travel & Competitiveness Task Force to promote domestic and international travel opportunities throughout the United States. A particular focus of the Task Force will be on strategies for increasing tourism and recreation jobs by promoting visits to our national treasures – including our national parks, wildlife refuges, cultural and historic sites, monuments and other public lands and waters that attract travelers from around the country and the globe.

“The Department of the Interior doesn’t just oversee beautiful and historic places,” he said. “We help drive tourism and recreation that powers small businesses and creates jobs.” The economic impact figures for the National Park System released today are based on $12 billion in direct spending by the 281 million visitors to parks in 2010 and are included in an annual, peer-reviewed, visitor spending analysis conducted by Dr. Daniel Stynes of Michigan State University.

“National parks are best known for their incredible beauty and the preservation of America’s historical legacy, but they are also critical assets for local economies,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “The investment American taxpayers make in their national parks continues to offer a huge return, not only in priceless family experiences but in real jobs and economic growth in our gateway communities that ripples to suppliers across the nation.”

Most of the spending/jobs figures are related to lodging, food, and beverage service (52 percent) followed by other retail (29 percent), entertainment/amusements (10 percent), gas and local transportation (7 percent) and groceries (2 percent). The entire National Park Service report which includes information on visitor spending by park and by state, is online at http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/products.cfm#MGM , click Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation and Payroll, 2010.

For more state-by-state information on national parks and how the National Park Service is working with communities go to www.nps.gov/STATE , for example: http://www.nps.gov/alaska.

ALASKA By The Numbers

Almost every American city and town claims a little bit of the National Park Service. Communities invite us to help them. Together we build trails and playgrounds, return historic buildings to productive use, revitalize neighborhoods, expand affordable housing, protect watersheds, recognize and promote local history, and introduce the next generation to stewardship opportunities. When we combine our expertise and resources we can accomplish great things.

  • 23 national parks
  • 2,331,977 visitors to national parks (in 2011)
  • $208,767,000 economic benefit from national park tourism (in 2010)
  • 410 National Register of Historic Places listings
  • $25,642,152 of historic rehabilitation projects stimulated by tax incentives (since 1995)
  • 100,704 hours donated by volunteers (in 2011)
  • 1 National Heritage Areas
  • 16 National Natural Landmarks
  • 49 National Historic Landmarks
  • $34,198,938 in Land & Water Conservation Fund grants (since 1965)
  • 266 acres transferred by Federal Lands to Parks for local parks and recreation (since 1948)
  • $23,442,633 in historic preservation grants
  • 84 community conservation and recreation projects (since 1987)
  • 1 World Heritage Sites
  • 517 places recorded by heritage documentation programs
  • 4,649,663 objects in national park museum collections
  • 8 threatened and endangered species in national parks
  • 4,746 archeological sites in national parks
  • 13 Certified Local Governments
  • 2 Teaching with Historic Places lesson plans
  • 2 Discover Our Shared Heritage travel itineraries
  • These numbers are just a sample of the National Park Service's work. Figures are for fiscal year ended 9/30/11.


About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 397 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

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