National Park Service reports $433M in benefits to Southern Utah’s economy

ST. GEORGE —  An April report release by the National Park Service shows that visitors to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument and Pipe Spring National Monument in 2014 spent $340 million in communities near the parks. That spending supported 4,983 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $433.8 million.

Zion National Park, Utah, March 2014 | Photo courtesy of Andrea Lanthier, St. George News
Zion National Park, Utah, March 2014 | Photo courtesy of Andrea Lanthier, St. George News

“For 2014, Zion saw another record year in visitation with almost 3.2 million visitors and for the first quarter of this year, visitation continues on a pace to exceed last year’s annual attendance,” park Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh said. “Our busy season now starts March 1st and lasts through mid-November, which during peak periods provides capacity challenges for the park. With the help of area businesses, park partners and local governments we work together to meet these challenges and to provide a safe and enjoyable visit to Zion National Park.”

Zion’s almost 3.2 million visitors spent over $172 million and supported 2,423 jobs in the area.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz.

The report shows $15.7 billion of direct spending by 292.8 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 277,000 jobs nationally; 235,600 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $29.7 billion.

Bryce Canyon National Park’s visitation was 9.4 percent higher in 2014 compared to 2013,” said Superintendent Lisa Eckert. “The State of Utah’s Mighty Five Campaign has been extremely successful at marketing the parks nationally and internationally. According to the study, our visitors brought over $142 Million into the local economy.”

Bryce Canyon covered in snow, Bryce Canyon, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Ruby’s Inn/Bryce Canyon Country Tourism Office, St. George News
Bryce Canyon covered in snow, Bryce Canyon, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Ruby’s Inn/Bryce Canyon Country Tourism Office, St. George News

Bryce Canyon saw 1.4 million visitors who spent almost $118 million and supported 1,810 jobs .

According to the 2014 report, most national park visitor spending was for lodging, 30.6 percent; followed by food and beverages, 20.3 percent; gas and oil, 11.9 percent; admissions and fees, 10.2 percent; and souvenirs and other expenses, 9.9 percent.

“We could not serve all these visitors and provide such great experiences without local support,” Cedar Breaks Superintendent Paul Roelandt said. “In addition to the year-round educational and recreational opportunities available at the park, our visitors need places to stay, eat and shop. Some also need equipment and services that we cannot provide. We appreciate the partnership and support of all our gateway communities, and are glad to be able to contribute to the economic health of our neighbors by supporting over 700 local jobs.”

Cedar Breaks had 762,907 visitors which spent $47 million to benefit the local economy.

“Pipe Spring is a small historical park located within the Kaibab Paiute Indian Reservation in Northern Arizona,” monument Superintendent John Hiscock said. “People from around the world stop in on their way to Grand Canyon, Zion or Bryce. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and Experience Your America The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage, specifically, a big factor in our local economy. In 2014, visitors to Pipe Spring spent approximately $3 million in the local communities of the Reservation, Fredonia, Arizona, and Kanab, Utah. We are glad to be able to provide that kind of benefit to the communities in Utah and on the Arizona Strip.”

Pipe Spring National Monument saw 56,484 visitors which supported 49 jobs.

Specifics

Park Visitation Total Visitor Spending Jobs Supported Local Economic Benefit
Bryce Canyon National Park 1,435,741 $117,882,800 1810 $142,767,300
Cedar Breaks National Monument 762,907 $47,049,100 701 $54,258,100
Pipe Spring National Monument 56,484 $3,485,700 49 $3,690,880
Zion National Park 3,189,696 $172,231,900 2,423 $233,123,400

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1 Comment

  • Bender April 24, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    In the Objectivist’s Randian utopia, strong jawed industrialists with heroic names like John Galt, would own these park lands and would do with them as they see fit. Perhaps we peons who wanted to view the parks could hope for employment as gamekeepers and cooks in the great man’s canyon castle. I envision Bryan Hyde as the sycophant personal assistant to Galt… fawning over him and eager for his every utterance.

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