UPDATED 5/2/2017: Story adds a statement from Acadia Superintendent Kevin Schneider.
A new report on the economic benefits of national parks shows that a record number of visitors to Acadia National Park last year injected about $274 million into the regional economy.
The report, released by the National Park Service, documents the powerful financial benefits of national parks during the Centennial celebration of the founding of the system and Acadia.
The report said Acadia contributed $274.2 million in visitor spending, up almost 11% from 2015 and 36.5% from $200.9 million in 2012. The park supported 4,195 full and part-time jobs last year, up nearly 8% from 2015.
That spending, along with the jobs, had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $333 million, the park said in a release on Tuesday.
“Acadia National Park’s extraordinary beauty and recreational opportunities attracted a record number of visitors in 2016 making it the eighth most-visited national park in the country,” said Superintendent Kevin Schneider in a statement. “We value our relationship with the neighboring communities and appreciate the services and amenities they provide to park visitors.”
The report shows how Acadia and other national park units across the nation are economic engines for gateway communities, or those within 60 miles of a park.
Eight sectors contributed to the $274.2 million spending around Acadia, including hotels, $89.7 million, or 33% of the total; restaurants and bars, $49.6 million, or 18%; gas, $28.4 million, or 10%; the recreation industry, $26.3 million or 9.5%; retail, $26.9 million, or 10% and the rest from transportation, groceries and camping, the report said.
The report is a testament to the tangible economic benefits of national parks to communities across the nation, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said in a statement, while releasing the report earlier this month. “Visitation numbers continue to rise because people want to experience these majestic public lands,” he said.
Zinke, a former U.S. House member from Montana, said that in his hometown of Whitefish, Mont., he has seen firsthand how the popularity of Glacier National Park sparked growth of the local outdoor recreation and eco-tourism industries. Continue reading