(The following was submitted by Redwood National Park.)
A new National Park Service (NPS) report for 2011 shows that 360,167 visitors to Redwood National Park spent $20,172,000 in communities surrounding the park. This spending supported at least 272 jobs in the local area. In addition, in 2011 over 35,448,424 people visited the twenty-four national parks located in the state of California (up 1.50% from 2010’s visitation) and spent a total of $6,190,031,000.
“We all recognize that Redwood National and State Parks are places of inspiration and beauty," said acting national park superintendent David Roemer. "But we may sometimes forget the important economic value of the parks as well. People from all around the world come to experience the ancient redwood forest. They also spend their time and money enjoying the services provided in our neighboring communities. It is yet another reason we all need to work together to protect and care for America’s most treasured places.”
The information on Redwood National Park is part of a peer-reviewed spending analysis of national park visitors across the country conducted by Michigan State University for the National Park Service. For 2011, that report shows $13 billion of direct spending by 279 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. That visitor spending had a $30 billion impact on the entire U.S. economy and supported 252,000 jobs nationwide.
Most visitor spending supports jobs in lodging, food, and beverage service (63 percent) followed by recreation and entertainment (17 percent), other retail (11 percent), transportation and fuel (7 percent) and wholesale and manufacturing (2 percent.)
The survey’s numbers for Redwood National Park demonstrate a significant contribution to the area’s economy, although visitation in 2011 was down 9 percent from 2010. The survey’s spending averages are adapted from national averages for each national park type and size of visitation, adjusted for surrounding populations and spending opportunities.
However, the numbers do not include the three California State Parks in the Redwood National and State Parks partnership (Del Norte Coast Redwoods, Jedediah Smith Redwoods, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks).
Therefore, the actual numbers for both visitation and spending for Redwood National and State Parks are considerably higher than reported in the survey. Redwood National and State Parks managers estimate that the annual combined visitation to all four parks within the partnership is over 900,000 people per year. At this level of visitation, it is far more likely that the parks within the partnership bring over $40,000,000 in visitor spending and 500 local jobs to the economy.
To download the report visit www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/products.cfm#MGM and click on Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation, 2011. The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state. To learn more about national parks in California and how the National Park Service works with communities to preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide local recreation opportunities, go to www.nps.gov/redw.