Dinosaur park adds $19 million to local economies via visitors

RBC I A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 291,800 visitors to Dinosaur National Monument in 2015 spent $17,079,100 in communities near the park. That spending supported 233 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $19,279,500.

“Dinosaur National Monument welcomes 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. We also feature 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.
“As we approach the end of National Park Week and the beginning of the Centennial year for the National Park Service, it is very fitting to reflect on the tremendous economic benefits Dinosaur National Monument brings to our gateway communities in Utah and Colorado,” he said. “With direct benefits through jobs and visitor spending, Dinosaur helps the local economies in great ways. Monument staff members are very proud to work closely with the states, counties, cities, towns and partnering organizations to welcome every visitor to this magical place while helping to sustain local communities.
“The fossil quarry, Echo Park, Josie’s Ranch, camping, fishing, wildlife watching, scenic driving and wilderness river rafting and hiking, all make Dinosaur such a great family destination,” Foust said. “The great variety of things to do in and around the monument make this place a true destination for people of all interests. We work hard to help visitors from all over the world enjoy the incredible history, culture, wilderness character and natural resources protected in Dinosaur National Monument.”
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally; 252,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion.
According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent).
Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data.
The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: go.nps.gov/vse. The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.
To learn more about national parks in both Colorado and Utah, and how the National Park Service works with Colorado and Utah communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/colorado.