While politicians contemplate selling, investing, and repairing our public lands– one thing remains certain– they’re worth a hell of a lot.
How much exactly?
According to a study completed by the National Park Foundation, our national parks are worth a whopping 92 billion dollars! That’s right, billion– spelled with a capital B. In what is the first comprehensive estimate of our National Park Service’s net worth, the total includes a variety of assets including national parks, monuments, educational programs, recreational resources, and federally administered properties. The properties alone total a whopping 84 million acres!
“Two-thirds of this total ($62 billion) is for National Park lands, waters and historic sites; the remaining $30 billion is attributed to NPS Programs.” – National Park Foundation Study
The foundation also admitted that number is based on “very conservative assumptions.” Still, Americans on the whole seem to greatly value our national treasures. That seemingly intangible value is actually measurable by how much the individual American is willing to pay in tax dollars to keep our National Park Service up and running.
All in all, the individual American household values our NPS system at $2,967 per household. Those same households also indicated that they are willing to pay $523 to avoid cutting programs/employees, selling lands, and making necessary repairs to national park infrastructures. Only 6.2% of those surveyed said we should sell off national park land.
- “95% of responding households indicated that protecting National Parks, including historic sites, for current and future generations was important to them.”
- “85% of respondents felt that they personally benefitted from National Parks, regardless of whether they visited the parks or not.”
Needless to say, American value their parks and with good reason– they’re worth close to $100 billion dollars.
Find the entire study here: Total Economic Valuation of the National Park Service Lands and Programs