National parks continue to be important economic engines for local communities

Climbing rangers at Mount Rainier National Park

flickr, Mount Rainier NPS

Our national parks are our natural backyards that offer inspiring learning experiences and unparalleled outdoor recreation.

The National Park Service recently released a report that showed that in 2011 visits to America’s national parks generated $30.1 billion in economic activity and supported 252,000 jobs nationwide.

The report also showed that of the nearly 279 million national park visits, more than one third of the total spending - or $13 billion - went directly into communities within 60 miles of a park. These numbers are on par with previous years.

According to this report, most national park visitor spending supports:

  • Jobs in lodging, food, and beverage service - 63 percent

  • Recreation and entertainment - 17 percent

  • Other retail - 11 percent

  • Transportation - 7 percent

  • Wholesale and manufacturing - 2 percent

The Budget Cuts – Sequestration

Due to budget cuts under sequestration, America's national parks now will face limited services such as reduced hours of operation for visitor centers, shorter seasons, and possibly closing campgrounds, hiking trails, and other recreational areas.

In other words, the public can expect reduced hours and services at all of America's 59 national parks.

Worse still, these reduced services will have a direct impact on the local communities and businesses that depend on the income generated from visitors to America’s public lands.

Make your voice heard and tell Congress to protect America’s national parks!

This article was written by Minji Rachel Kang, a communications intern at The Wilderness Society. 


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