A new National Park Service report shows that 2.3 million visitors to Glacier National Park in 2014 spent $193 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 3,405 jobs in the local area.
Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow said, “This study reinforces the fact that Glacier National Park plays a significant role in the economy of the state of Montana, and specifically Northwest Montana.” Mow says that the park hosts visitors from across the country and from around the world, and visitation is increasing each year.
National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy as well. It is estimated that for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, there is a $10 return to the United States economy. Mow said, “I believe the National Park Service is a good buy for the American taxpayer.”
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz. The report shows $15.7 billion of direct spending by 292.8 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 277,000 jobs nationally; 235,600 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $29.7 billion.
According to the 2014 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (30.6 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.3 percent), gas and oil (11.9 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.9 percent).
Superintendent Mow said, “We appreciate all our partners and neighbors, and the local and regional businesses and organizations that contribute to supporting visitors to Glacier National Park.”
The report is available at http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm. It includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state. To learn more about national parks in Montana and how the National Park Service works with communities in Montana to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to http://www.nps.gov/state/mt/index.htm.
For more information about Glacier National Park, visit the park’s webpage at http://www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm or the park’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GlacierNPS, or contact 406-888-7800.