RBC I A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 274,361 visitors to Dinosaur National Monument in 2013 spent $15,791,600 in communities near the park. That spending supported 186 jobs in the local area.
“Dinosaur National Monument is proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Mark Foust. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides and to use the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers.
“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 our local economy as well,” he said. “We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”
Dinosaur experienced a drop in visitation from 2012 numbers due to the government shutdown in October 2013. October 2013 visitation was 7,564 compared with 32,428 for the same month in 2012. Visitation remained depressed through the rest of the year and winter after the monument reopened in late October. This also decreased the amount of economic benefit from the 2012 report released earlier this year.
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service.
The report shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported more than 237,000 jobs nationally, with more than 197,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.5 billion.
According to the 2013 economic analysis, most visitor spending was for lodging (30.3 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.3 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.3 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (10 percent).
The largest jobs categories supported by visitor spending were restaurants and bars (50,000 jobs) and lodging (38,000 jobs).