A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 268,946 visitors to San Juan Island National Historical Park in 2014 spent $15,083,000 in communities near the park. That spending supported 204 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $19,514,000.
“English Camp and American Camp are key attractions on San Juan Island and welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Lee Taylor. “We are delighted to be a part of the vibrant experiences the island offers and to share the story of this place.”
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 local economies as well.
“We appreciate the support of our neighbors and park partners and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities,” Taylor said. In addition to hikers, bicyclists, beach walkers and site seers counted within park boundaries, nearly 58,000 visitors crossed the thresholds of San Juan National Historical Park’s visitor centers in 2014, according to Mike Vouri, the park’s chief of interpretation and visitor services. While this number fell short of both centers’ all-time record of just over 60,000 in 2013, visits to the American Camp center—open all year—hit nearly 33,000, a new record.
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).
To download the report visit www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.
To learn more about national parks in Washington State and how the National Park Service works with state communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/Washington