Chesterton Tribune



Study 1.8 million visitors to National Lakeshore spent$ 75 million in 2012

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A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1,889,381 visitors to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in 2012 spent $75.9 million in communities near the park.

“That spending supported 947 jobs in the local area,” NPS said in a statement released on Tuesday.

Of those 1,889,381 visitors, fully 1,289,857--or 68 percent--were “non-local recreation visits,” during which $67 million was spent in communities near the park, supporting 848 jobs.

“Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” Acting Superintendent Sue Bennett said. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides and to use the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers.

National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy--returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service--and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well,” Bennett added. “We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

The peer-reviewed visitor-spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for NPS. The report shows $14.7 billion of direct spending by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 243,000 jobs nationally, with 201,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.75 billion, NPS said.

According to the report, most visitor spending supports jobs in restaurants, grocery, and convenience stores (39 percent); hotels, motels, and B&Bs (27 percent); and other amusement and recreation (20 percent).

The Top Five national parks, in terms of non-local visitorship: the Blue Ridge Parkway, with 14.2 million spending $890 million; the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, with 9.1 million spending $728 million; the Golden Gate National Recreational Area, with 5.9 million spending $209 million; the Lincoln Memorial, with 5.1 million spending $98 million; and the Lake Mead Recreational Area, with 4.3 million spending $224,126 million.

“Visitor characteristics and spending averages are adapted from national averages for each park type,” the study states in a footnote.

Download the report at

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

To learn more about national parks in Indiana and how the National Park Service works with Indiana communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to


Posted 3/5/3014