2014 National Park visitor spending effects: economic contributions to local communities, states, and the nation

Natural Resource Report NPS/NRSS/EQD/NRR—2015/947
National Park Service
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The National Park System covers more than 84 million acres and is comprised of more than 401 sites across the Nation. These lands managed by the National Park Service (NPS) serve as recreational destinations for visitors from across the Nation and around the world. On vacations or on day trips, NPS visitors spend time and money in the gateway communities surrounding NPS sites. Spending by NPS visitors generates and supports a considerable amount of economic activity within park gateway economies. The NPS has been measuring and reporting visitor spending and economic effects for the past 25 years. The 2012 analysis marked a major revision to the NPS visitor spending effects analyses, with the development of the Visitor Spending Effects model (VSE model) which replaced the previous Money Generation Model (see Cullinane Thomas et al. (2014) for a description of how the VSE model differs from the previous model). This report provides updated VSE estimates associated with 2014 NPS visitation.

System-wide visitation estimates in 2014 increased by 7% (or 19.2 million visits) compared to 2013 (Ziesler, 2015). Visitation in 2014 rebounded from a 2013 decline that included a 16-day government shutdown and many park closures for repairs after Superstorm Sandy hit the Northeast in late 2012. The re-opening of the Washington Monument, some 21 months after it was rocked by an earthquake and repaired, also added to 2014 visitation numbers. Additionally, several national parks saw record-breaking visitation in 2014, including Joshua Tree, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton and Glacier national parks.

This report begins by presenting an overview of economic effects analyses, followed by details about the data and methods used for this analysis and 2014 model updates. Estimates of NPS visitor spending in 2014 and resulting economic effects at the local, state, regional, and national levels are then presented. The report concludes with a description of current data limitations. Park-level spending and economic effects estimates are included in the appendix.

New this year, results from the Visitor Spending Effects report series are available online via 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. This interactive tool is available via the NPS Social Science Program webpage at http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm.

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Title 2014 National Park visitor spending effects: economic contributions to local communities, states, and the nation
Series title Natural Resource Report
Series number NPS/NRSS/EQD/NRR—2015/947
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher National Park Service
Publisher location Fort Collins, CO
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description vi, 42 p.
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details