National Parks bring in billions for national economy, report says

By Daniel S Levine,

A report on the National Park System in 2012 shows that the beautiful National Parks throughout the country also contribute billions to the economy, helping out the local towns near parks. In addition, the government said that last year’s shutdown of the parks led to the communities and parks losing $414 million.

The report, released Monday, shows that visits to the parks led to $14.7 billion in spending from visitors in the communities near the parks, notes NBC News. In addition, the spending supported 243,000 jobs and brought in $26.8 billion for the national economy.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said that the numbers showed how vital the National Park System is. Not only do these parks provide beautiful vistas for visitors, but they are vital for local communities to survive. The parks “support business ranging from motels and restaurants to gas stations and tour companies and, of course, the people who work in those businesses,” she said.

The parks and the local communities got a taste of how hard life would be without them last October, when the government was shutdown. Although the sequester lasted 16 days, Jewell said that it resulted in a loss of $414 million, reports The Associated Press. Five states lost nearly $20 million.

Jewell said it was a reminder of how important the parks are. “The shutdown cost the parks and nearby communities nearly half a billion dollars in visitor spending,” she said. “Let’s hope we don’t ever have to go there again.”

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons



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