Regional
10:39 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Study Says New Mexico's National Parks=Money And Jobs

Credit White Sands National Monument

  A new National Park Service report shows that nearly 1.5 million national park visitors in New Mexico in 2011 spent $102 million and supported 1,538 jobs in the state. Nationwide, visitors to the 398 units of the National Park System had a combined $30 billion economic benefit that supported 252,000 jobs.

“The national parks of New Mexico are exceptional and varied places – from the ancient mystery of Chaco Canyon to the wondrous geology of Carlsbad Caverns. The attraction of these 13 natural and cultural crown jewels as havens for relaxation, exercise and learning about our national story is undeniable,” said John Wessels, regional director for the Park Service’s eight-state Intermountain Region, which includes New Mexico.

“New Mexico’s many park visitors, and the people of the state who live and work in communities near its national parks, are investors in these treasures of our heritage,” Wessels said. “The money that visitors spend on national park trips has positive effects on the local, state and national economies. And the local efforts of New Mexicans – those who own or work at businesses that serve local and long-distance park visitors, or who provide services for parks and park employees – are essential ingredients in these community transactions.”

New Mexico’s national parks include: Carlsbad Caverns National Park; Aztec Ruins National Monument; Bandelier National Monument; Capulin Volcano National Monument; El Malpais National Monument; El Morro National Monument; Fort Union National Monument; Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument; Petroglyph National Monument; Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument; White Sands National Monument; Chaco Culture National Historic Park, and Pecos National Historic Park. In 2011, these parks welcomed a combined 1,491,144 visitors.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by Yue Cui, Ed Mahoney, and Teresa Herbowicz of Michigan State University for the National Park Service. The report shows $13 billion of direct spending by 279 million national park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a park.

This spending supported 252,000 jobs, most of which also are in communities near national parks. Park visitor spending had a combined $30 billion impact on the U.S. economy as a whole.

According to the report, most visitor spending supports jobs in lodging, food, and beverage service (63 percent). Other spending categories include recreation and entertainment (17 percent), other retail (11 percent), transportation and fuel (7 percent) and wholesale and manufacturing (2 percent).

To download the national report, visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/products.cfm#MGM and click on Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation, 2011. The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

Alamogordo, NM –

The new National Park Service (NPS) report for 2011 shows that the 428,900 visitors to White Sands National Monument spent $15,812,000 in communities surrounding the park. This spending supported 233 jobs in the local area.

“White Sands is a wonderful place to learn about America’s story,” said park superintendent Marie Frias Sauter. “We attract visitors from across the U.S. and around the world who come here to experience the monument. While in the area, they also spend time and money enjoying the services provided by our neighboring communities and getting to know this amazing part of New Mexico. The National Park Service is proud to have been entrusted with the care of America’s most treasured places and delighted that the visitors we welcome generate significant contributions to the local, state, and national economy.”

The information on White Sands is part of a peer-reviewed spending analysis of national park visitors across the country conducted by Michigan State University for the National Park Service. For 2011, that report shows $13 billion of direct spending by 279 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. That visitor spending had a $30 billion impact on the entire U.S. economy and supported 252,000 jobs nationwide.

Most visitor spending supports jobs in lodging, food, and beverage service (63 percent) followed by recreation and entertainment (17 percent), other retail (11percent), transportation and fuel (7 percent) and wholesale and manufacturing (2 percent.)