Tourism to Area National Parks creates over $1.5 Million in Economic Benefit

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Report Shows Visitor Spending Supports 21  Local Jobs

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 23,324 visitors to Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site in 2013 spent $1.28 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 17 jobs in the local area.  The same report shows that 4,795 visitors to Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site in 2013 spent $264,000 and supported 4 jobs.

“The national park units of Southeast Colorado are proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Alexa Roberts. “We are delighted to share the story of these places and the experiences they provide and to use the parks 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. 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 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 percent), hotels, motels and B&Bs (27 percent), and other amusement and recreation (20 percent).

To download the report visit The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state. To learn more about national parks in Colorado and how the National Park Service works with Colorado communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to

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