National Parks Are Proven Economic Engines; Congress Must End Sequester and Pass Pro-Park Transportation Bill
WASHINGTON – Today, the National Park Service released its 2014 National Park Visitor Spending Effects report. The report demonstrates that our National Park System is a powerful economic engine responsible for annually supporting 277,000 private-sector jobs and generating $15.7 billion for local and $29.7 billion for our national economies, a national increase of nearly $3 billion compared to 2013. The impact they have underscores the need for Congress to end the sequester and support the National Park Service’s Centennial budget proposal, and increase park infrastructure funding under the federal transportation bill.
“It’s clear that when our national parks are a priority, our economy benefits,” said National Parks Conservation Association’s Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Craig Obey. “The $3 billion increase in economic impact over 2013 is because more people visited parks, parks and communities didn’t suffer the negative impact of a federal government shutdown, and the sequester cuts to parks were temporarily addressed.
“We had a record-breaking number of visits to national parks in 2014, and even more visits are likely with the approaching park centennial in 2016. This is the time to permanently end the sequester, reverse annual funding shortfalls, and fix park infrastructure with a pro-park transportation bill.”
BACKGROUND: Not only are America’s national parks some of the most awe-inspiring places in the world, they are also huge economic generators for the local communities that surround them. For every dollar invested in national parks, $10 is returned to the American economy through visitor spending, travel and tourism, and construction jobs.
In 2013, our national parks were visited by more than 273 million people who supported nearly $27 billion in economic activity and over 237,000 private-sector jobs. In 2014, there were 292.8 million visits to national parks, breaking the previous record of 287.2 million visits set in 1987.
Earlier this year, the National Parks Conservation Association hailed the President’s National Park Service Centennial budget request for seeking to rectify years of chronic underfunding with a significant investment in park operations and more than $1 billion to begin to address the National Park System’s $11.49 billion maintenance backlog. More than half of the total backlog consists of transportation related needs.
In 2012, a poll conducted by Hart Research Associates and North Star Opinion Research showed that 9 out of 10 likely voters — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents — agree that funding for our national parks should be held stable or increased.
The 2014 National Park Visitor Spending Effects report is available.
About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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Angela GonzalesAssociate Director, Communications