A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS: Study Shows Spending at National Parks Pumps $31 Billion into Local Economies, Supporting 258,000 Jobs
Policy Management and Budget
WASHINGTON – Visitors to the National Park System contributed more than $31 billion to local economies and supported 258,000 jobs in 2010, an increase of $689 million and 11,500 jobs over 2009, according to a report issued by the National Park Service today.
Today's announcement comes in advance of Friday's White House Conference on Conservation being hosted at the Department of the Interior that will spotlight community-driven conservation efforts as part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Initiative.
“Our National Parks and other public lands continue to be economic engines that produce and support jobs in communities across America,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. “It is the reason President Obama signed an Executive Order last month to promote travel and tourism in the United States. By investing in our parks and promoting them to visitors, especially internationally, we can have the dual benefit of an improved National Park System and a stronger economy that produces more jobs.”
Salazar noted that recreation in national parks, refuges, and other public lands alone led to nearly $55 billion in economic contribution and 440,000 jobs in 2009.
In January, President Obama launched the creation of a Travel & Competitiveness Task Force to promote domestic and international travel opportunities throughout the United States. A particular focus of the Task Force will be on strategies for increasing tourism and recreation jobs by promoting visits to our national treasures – including our national parks, wildlife refuges, cultural and historic sites, monuments and other public lands and waters that attract travelers from around the country and the globe.
“The Department of the Interior doesn't just oversee beautiful and historic places,” he said. “We help drive tourism and recreation that powers small businesses and creates jobs.”
The economic impact figures for the National Park System released today are based on $12 billion in direct spending by the 281 million visitors to parks in 2010 and are included in an annual, peer-reviewed, visitor spending analysis conducted by Dr. Daniel Stynes of Michigan State University.
“National parks are best known for their incredible beauty and the preservation of America's historical legacy, but they are also critical assets for local economies,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “The investment American taxpayers make in their national parks continues to offer a huge return, not only in priceless family experiences but in real jobs and economic growth in our gateway communities that ripples to suppliers across the nation.”
Most of the spending/jobs figures are related to lodging, food, and beverage service (52 percent) followed by other retail (29 percent), entertainment/amusements (10 percent), gas and local transportation (7 percent) and groceries (2 percent).