Published On: Fri, Mar 7th, 2014

Tourism to New River Gorge National River, Bluestone National Scenic River, Gauley River National Recreation Area creates $51,466,744 in economic benefit

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Report shows visitor spending supports 685 jobs in local economy

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1,280,320 visitors to New River Gorge National River, Bluestone National Scenic River and Gauley River National Recreation Area in 2012 spent $51,466,744 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 685 jobs in the local area.

“The National Parks of southern West Virginia are a wonderful place to learn about America’s story,” said Superintendent Trish Kicklighter. “We attract visitors from across the U.S. and around the world that come here to experience the park and then spend time and money enjoying the services provided by our neighboring communities and getting to know this amazing part of the country.  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 proud to be such an integral part of the communities’ economy.”

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 http://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 southern West Virginia and how the National Park Service works with West Virginia communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/westvirginia.