National Park Tourism in Washington State Earns $419 Million - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

National Park Tourism in Washington State Earns $419 Million in 2012

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The National Park Service says visitor spending at national parks in Washington state is supporting more than 5,000 jobs statewide. The National Park Service says visitor spending at national parks in Washington state is supporting more than 5,000 jobs statewide.

WASHINGTON - The National Park Service says visitor spending at national parks in Washington state is supporting more than 5,000 jobs statewide. 

NPS says there were 7.5 million visits to national parks in Washington state in 2012. People spent more than $419 million, which paid to support 5,164 jobs in the state.

"The national parks of Washington attract visitors from across the country and around the world," said Regional Director Chris Lehnertz. "Whether they are out for an afternoon, a school field trip, or a month-long family vacation, visitors come to have a great experience, and end up spending a little money along the way. This new report shows that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy - returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service - and a big factor in Washington state's economy as well, a result we can all support." 

The national parks in Washington state include Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, Mount Rainier National Park, North Cascades National Park, Olympic National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, San Juan Island National Historical Park, and Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park - Seattle, as well as the main unit of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, and parts of Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, Nez Perce National Historical Park, and Minidoka National Historic Site.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber, and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service. 

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. 

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

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