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National Parks Deliver $313 Million Benefit to South Florida Economy

April 2017 – Need another reason to support your local national park? How about this: Your local national park supports you!

National parks are huge economic engines and job generators, according to a new study released this month by the National Park Service. The study includes updated stats on how much economic activity parks contribute to their surrounding communities. Follow this link to see the full report: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm

Here’s a Big Cypress National Preserve news release detailing the economic impact of South Florida’s four national parks on the local economy:

Tourism to South Florida National Parks creates $313.2 Million in Economic Benefits

Report shows visitor spending supports 3,100 jobs in local economy

A new National Park Service report shows that 2.6 million visitors to South Florida National Parks spent $216.7 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 3,100 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $313,258,300.

The South Florida area enjoys four National Park Service units to tell the story of our shared heritage and critical natural resources. Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and Big Cypress National Preserve offer recreation, shared cultural resources, a chance to be humbled by nature’s scenic beauty.

“South Florida’s national parks benefit all who live here and visit, by creating jobs, stimulating the economy, protecting the environment and providing opportunities for all of us to relax and refresh outdoors in nature,” said Don Finefrock, Executive Director of the South Florida National Parks Trust, a nonprofit partner that supports all four parks through fundraising and community outreach.

In 2016, 1,102,147 visitors to Big Cypress National Preserve spent $88,049,800 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,255 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $126,017,400.

Everglades National Park’s 930,907 visitors spent $91,321,400 while supporting 1,330 jobs for a cumulative impact of $136,391,800.

Dry Tortugas National Park’s 73,661 visitors spent $4,410,000 while supporting 54 jobs for a cumulative impact of $4,869,200.

Biscayne National Park’s 514,709 visitors spent $33,004,100 while supporting 461 jobs for a cumulative impact of $45,979,900.

“Big Cypress National Preserve welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Tamara Whittington. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides. We also feature the preserve as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers.”

Everglades National Park Superintendent Pedro Ramos added, “National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning more than $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 glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

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

The report shows $18.4 billion of direct spending by 331 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 318,000 jobs nationally; 271,544 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $ 34.9 billion.

According to the 2016 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.2 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.2 percent), gas and oil (11.7 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent), and camping fees (2.5%).

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