What is this impact? How much money are we talking about?
Academic studies in the past have indicated that The Blue Ridge Parkway brings as much as $2.3 billion a year to communities along the length of this 469 mile long National Park area.
In a new information release from the National Park Service, The Great Smokey Mountains National Park brings in the highest economic impact to its gateway communities. Below is taken from the National Park Service Morning Report for February 1, 2012.
GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
Great Smokies Tops Park Revenue Generation List
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Great Smoky Mountains National Park is not only the nation’s most visited national park, it also tops the 397 national park units in visitor spending.
A recently-released study estimates that in 2010 the park’s 9 million visitors spent over $818 million in the gateway communities surrounding Great Smokies. The study also estimates that 11,367 local jobs were supported by park visitor spending.
The study, “Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation and Payroll, 2010”, was conducted by Dr. Daniel Stynes of the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies at Michigan State University. According to Stynes’ study, the National Park Service received 281 million recreational visits in 2010 and park visitors spent $12.13 billion in local gateway regions.
The study provides park-by-park and state-by-state breakdowns of visitation, visitor spending, and local jobs supported by parks from Alaska to the Virgin Islands. The top five NPS units in terms of spending generated were Great Smoky Mountains National Park ($818 million), Grand Canyon ($415 million), Yosemite ($354 million), Yellowstone ($334 million), and Blue Ridge Parkway ($299 million).
“This study clearly demonstrates the economic benefits that communities located near national parks receive by being collocated with these unique national, historic and cultural sites,” said Dale Ditmanson, the park’s superintendent.
The entire study can be found at the link below.