Last year 331 million tourists flocked to our nation’s national parks and paid lofty entrance fees to see our country’s natural treasures first hand.
Turns out those entrance fees add up. According to a recent NPS release, national park visits in 2016 generated approximately $18.4 billion dollars in revenue and the NPS in general put 34.9 billion back into the United States economy.
“Expenditures supported a total of 318.1 Thousand jobs, $12 Billion in labor income, $19.9 Billion in value added, and $34.9 Billion in economic output in the national economy” – Department Of The Interior
The release goes on to break down the $18.4 billion in revenue a variety of source categories. The most lucrative category was lodging, which amounted to roughly 31% of the overall revenue. Other revenue sources such as gas and restaurants followed close behind hotels and outdoor recreation alone accounted for $1.9 billion in revenue.
The newly release data will likely be a big factor in how the National Park Service plans to reconcile its highly publicized $12 billion dollar backlog of deferred maintenance costs. In order to solve the problem in the near future, Interior head Ryan Zinke will have to prop up the outdoor industry and possibly hike camping/entrance fees to make up for a Trump budget that hopes to cut the department’s funding by 12%.
Find the entire NPS stats here: Economic Contributions of National Park Visitor Spending