NPS Economic Impacts Report: Parks Are A Great Investment!

Family hiking in a redwood park
Visitors to California’s national parks bring a big boost to the local economy. Photo by Paolo Vescia.

Conservation is important for so many reasons. It’s good for the land and wildlife, air and water, it’s good for our mental and physical health, it’s good for the soul — and now we know it’s great for the economy.

On March 4th, the National Park Service (NPS) released its peer-reviewed report, 2012 National Park Visitor Spending Effects – Economic Contributions to Local Communities, States, and the Nation (Natural Resource Report NPS/NRSS/EQD/NRR—2014/765).

The press release issued by Redwood National Park (RNP) highlights the report’s striking bottom line: “Every $1 invested by American taxpayers in the National Park Service returns $10 to the U.S. economy.  According to the report, in 2012, national park visitors generated $26.754 billion in economic activity and supported 242,712 jobs nationwide!

Here in California, the redwoods are a wonderful asset to our local economies. In far Northern California, RNP alone brought at least 330,158 non-local visitors, 294 jobs and a benefit of $23.706 million in non-local visitor spending to the local economy. And that’s not including the three state parks that, with RNP, make up the Redwood National and State Parks. According to RNP’s press release, together, these parks are estimated to bring in combined visitation spending of “over $55 million and at least 500 local jobs to the economy.”

Clearly, dollars spent saving such special places as our redwood forests and making them available for public use is a winning investment. The economic information in the NPS report comes at a critical time in California history, when a much-needed overhaul of our parks system is underway. Let’s use the knowledge it delivers as further motivation to support our parks, to continue protecting the redwoods and connecting people with their inspirational beauty. Talk about a win-win situation!


Let’s keep in touch on Twitter! Follow me at @SamH4Redwoods for news and insights about redwoods and conservation.

About the author

President and Chief Enthusiast for the Outdoors (CEO) of Save the Redwoods League, Sam brings more than 25 years of experience in overseeing land conservation programs from the remote wilderness to the inner city.

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