|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||November 6, 2003|
|Contact:||Courtney Cuff, NPCA, 510-839-9922, ext. 21|
New Report Says National Parks Generate Millions for Economy
Oakland, CA - A new report released today by the national park watchdog, National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), reveals that visitors to California’s 23 national parks contribute more than $1 billion annually to state and local economies. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, as well as 55 small businesses, government municipalities, and chambers of commerce throughout the state have endorsed the findings of the report.
“This report confirms what we have long known intuitively, that California’s national parks are not merely natural wonders, but are integral to our quality of life and state economy,” said Sen. Diane Feinstein. “By taking good care of these special places and providing park visitors with a quality experience, we sustain jobs and support our tourism economy while also protecting our natural and cultural heritage. It’s a win-win situation.”
The NPCA report, National Treasures as Economic Engines, makes use of a conservative economic model originally developed by Michigan State University for the National Park Service. The ten parks examined in this report (Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Lassen Volcanic, Mojave, Pinnacles, Point Reyes, Redwood, Santa Monica Mountains, Sequoia-Kings Canyon, and Yosemite) received just over 11 million visitors in 2001. The $643 million dollars spent by these visitors supported nearly 17,000 jobs in the local areas around the parks.
“National parks are a catalyst for economic growth,” said NPCA Pacific Regional Director Courtney Cuff. “Local, state, and federal decision makers need to plan for the continued protection of the national parks, not only to preserve these ecologically significant places, but to maintain their important role in our economy.”
According to a 2002 California Lodging Forecast by Ernst & Young, LLP, California is the most visited state in America; travel and tourism expenditures account for approximately 6 percent of California’s Gross State Product.
“California’s national parks are both environmental and economic treasures. They not only provide respite from our busy lives, they also make important contributions to our economy,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer.
“Appreciating the delicate balance between the environment and the economy is essential for continued prosperity around our national parks,” Cuff added. “Too much development or too little investment in park preservation will deter visitors and kill the goose that laid that golden egg.”