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DOI 2012 report shows big economic impact of NPS, visitors spend $157M in Ohio

The shutdown of the federal government last October cost local communities across the nation more than $400 million, according to a report released Monday by the Department of Interior that credited over 400 National Park Service locations for supporting 243,000 jobs nationwide.

In Ohio, the economic engines represented by National Park Service attractions took in $156.7 from visitors, funding that supported 2,437 jobs.
John Michael Spinelli

Invited reporters listened to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis discuss the report, which is a revision from previous reports that make a strong case for how NPS locations are economic engines for their local communities and regions. The new report, the report says, used new software, updated assumptions about the nation’s economy based on 400 different characteristics, and new estimates of spending and visitor trip characteristics aimed at better accuracy and more transparency.

Four million visitors in 2012 contributed to the $26.75 billion in economic activity from NPS facilities that supported 243,000 jobs, according to a peer-reviewed report released today by

"National parks like Yellowstone and Gettysburg are places of unimaginable beauty and powerful history that help tell America’s story while connecting us with nature," Sec. Jewell said. "At the same time, our national parks help propel our nation’s economy, drawing hundreds of millions of visitors every year who are the lifeblood of the hotels, restaurants, outfitters, and other local businesses that depend on a vibrant and reliable tourism and outdoor recreation industry supported by our public lands."

Director Jarvis said the NPS welcomed more than 280 million visitors to the nation's national parks in 2012. With 2016 being the centennial anniversary of the NPS. Jarvis said it has helped people discover places to explore, learn from and enjoy. "These places of history, culture and natural wonder offer unparalleled experiences and return $10 for every $1 American taxpayers invest in the National Park Service. That’s a successful formula we can all embrace as we prepare for the next 100 years of the National Park Service."

Information from DOI reported that more than 200,000 of the jobs supported by national parks in 2012 were in local neighboring communities. These range from big parks like the Grand Canyon, which attracted 4.4 million visitors and supported 6,000 jobs, to smaller parks like the Lincoln Boyhood Home, which had 133,000 visitors and supported 93 jobs in local communities.

NPS in Ohio

By comparison to other states, Ohio has a paucity of NPS locations. Nonetheless, the impact for Ohio's economy is still significant.

Visits, spending and economic contributions to state economies of National Park Service visitor spending in Ohio:

  • Total recreation visits: 2,611,158
  • Total visitor spending [$ Millions]: $156.7
  • Jobs: 2,437
  • Labor Income [$ Millions]: $71.9
  • Value added [$ Millions]: $122.4

The figures in the report are based on spending by nearly 283 million visitors in communities near national parks in 2012. An in-depth analysis of the 2012 figures found an increase in local visitor spending and a correlating increase in economic activity and jobs in local communities.


DOI has determined that over the16-day shutdown, there were 7.88 million fewer national park visitors in October 2013 compared to a three-year average (October 2010-12), and an estimated loss of $414 million in visitor spending in gateway and local communities across the country when comparing October 2013 to a three-year average (October 2010-12).

According to the 2012 economic analysis, 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).

President Barack Obama is set to release his 2015 budget request. It is widely expected that the president will call for an end to the era of austerity that Republicans have fought hard to achieve. Reports say the president will focus on injecting new cash into job training, early-childhood education and other programs aimed at bolstering the middle class.

Ohio's NPS sites to visit:

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers
Xenia, OH

Throughout his life, Charles Young overcame countless obstacles in his ascent to prominence. In spite of overt racism and stifling inequality, Young rose through the military ranks to become one of the most respected leaders of his time. A well-rounded man with a steadfast devotion to duty, Young led by example and inspired a generation of new leaders.

Cuyahoga Valley
Cleveland and Akron, OH

Though a short distance from the urban areas of Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park seems worlds away. The park is a refuge for native plants and wildlife, and provides routes of discovery for visitors. The winding Cuyahoga River gives way to deep forests, rolling hills, and open farmlands. Walk or ride the Towpath Trail to follow the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal.

David Berger
Beachwood, OH

This site honors the memory of David Berger, an American citizen who was one of 11 Israeli athletes killed at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. David had no expectations of winning a medal but joined the Israeli weightlifting team to realize his dream - a dream which ended tragically. The Memorial is dedicated to his memory and the memory of the ten other athletes.

Dayton Aviation Heritage
Dayton, OH

Three exceptional men from Dayton, Ohio, Wilbur Wright, Orville Wright and Paul Laurence Dunbar, found their creative outlet here through accomplishments and failures, and finally success. However, these men offered the world something far greater, they offered the world hope, and the ability to take a dream and make it a reality.

Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis
Toledo, OH

The Battle of Fallen Timbers was the culminating event that demonstrated the tenacity of the American people in their quest for western expansion and the struggle for dominance in the Old Northwest Territory. The events resulted in the dispossession of American Indian tribes and a loss of colonial territory for the British military and settlers.

First Ladies
Canton, OH

Two properties, the home of First Lady Ida Saxton McKinley and the seven story 1895 City Bank Building, are preserved at this site, which honors the lives and accomplishment of our nation's First Ladies. The site is managed by the National Park Service and operated by the National First Ladies Library.

Hopewell Culture
Chillicothe, OH

Earthen mounds and embankments forming huge geometric enclosures grace the landscape of the Ohio River Valley. These monumental structures were built by Native American hands almost 2,000 years ago. Hopewellian people gathered at these earthworks for feasts, funerals and rites of passage. Come learn about these sacred spaces and reflect upon the lives of these American Indians.

James A Garfield
Mentor, OH

A front porch can serve many purposes. For some, a place to enjoy the breeze on a warm summer night. For others, a perch from which to keep eyes on what's happening in their neighborhood. In 1880, James Garfield used his front porch as a platform to greet thousands of well-wishers during his presidential campaign. Today, the porch serves as a gateway to the story of the Garfield family.

National Aviation
Dayton, OH

The Wright brothers invented the airplane in the back of their bicycle shop on Dayton’s west side, within the National Aviation Heritage Area? They test flew it at Kitty Hawk, NC in 1903.

The news article DOI 2012 report shows big economic impact of NPS, visitors spend $157M in Ohio appeared first on Columbus Government Examiner.

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