Payoff from the Parks

NPS tallies nearly $40 million added to Idaho economy

Published online: Apr 20, 2017 Articles, East Idaho Outdoors, Family Fun Guide
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A new National Park Service report shows that nearly 700,000 visitors to national parks in Idaho spent $30.8 million in the state in 2016. That spending resulted in 525 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the state economy of $39.7 million.

“The national parks of Idaho attract visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Laura Joss, regional director for National Park Service’s Pacific West Region. “Whether they are out for an afternoon, a school field trip, or a month-long family vacation, visitors come to have a great experience, and end up spending a little money along the way.  This new report shows that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy - returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service - and a big factor in our state’s economy as well, a result we can all support.”

There are seven national parks in Idaho, including City of Rocks National Reserve, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve and Minidoka National Historic Site.

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 $18.4 billion of direct spending by 331 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 318,000 jobs nationally; 271,544 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $ 34.9 billion.

According to the 2016 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.2 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.2 percent), gas and oil (11.7 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent), and camping fees (2.5%).

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 Park Service’s Social Science Program webpage: http://go.nps.gov/vse. The report includes information for visitor spending by park and by state.

Source: National Park Service - Pacific West Region