Chesterton Tribune



NPS study: Visitors to Indiana national parks spent $82M in 2013

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A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that the 1.9 million visitors to Indiana’s national parks in 2013 spent $82 million and supported 1,166 jobs in the state.

“The national parks of Indiana attract almost 2 million visitors a year from across the country and around the world,” said Patricia Trapp, acting director of NPS’s Midwest Region, which includes Indiana and 12 more states. “Whether it’s a day trip or a long family vacation, they all come for a great experience --and they end up spending a little money along the way, too. This new report confirms that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service. This reality makes parks tourism an important factor in Indiana’s economy as well. It’s a result we all can support.”

Indiana counts three national parks: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, George Rogers Clark National Historical Park, and Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial.

The peer-reviewed NPS visitor spending analysis--conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas, Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service--shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in “gateway” communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported more about 237,000 jobs nationally--97,000 them in park gateway communities--and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.5 billion.

The 2013 national economic benefit figures differ from the 2012 results, which were reported earlier this year. In 2012, Indiana’s national parks attracted 2.15 million visitors who spent $88.5 million supporting 1,273 jobs in the state. The authors of the report said the 16-day government shutdown in October 2013 accounted for most of the national decline in park visitation. The economists also cited inflation adjustments for differences between visitation and visitor spending, jobs supported, and overall effect on the U.S. economy.

According to the national report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (30.3 percent), food and beverages (27.3 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), and admissions and fees (10.3 percent). Souvenirs and other expenses accounted for the remaining 10 percent. Nationally, the largest jobs categories supported by visitor spending were restaurants and bars (50,000 jobs) and lodging (38,000 jobs).

The 2013 Visitor Spending Effects Report can be found at


Posted 7/21/2014