PHILADELPHIA – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 9,708,443 visitors to national parks in Pennsylvania spent $467,100,000 in the state in 2018. That spending resulted in 7,381 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the state economy of $693,000,000.

“The national parks of Pennsylvania attract visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Northeast Region Director Gay Vietzke. “Whether they are out for an afternoon, a school field trip, or a month-long family vacation, visitors come to have a great experience, and end up spending a little money along the way.  This new report shows that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy - returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service - and a big factor in our state’s economy as well, a result we can all support.”

Pennsylvania’s National Park Service sites that were included in this study are:

Independence National Historical Park Valley Forge National Historical Park Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site Thaddeau Kosciuszko National Memorial Flight 93 National Memorial Fort Necessity National Battlefield Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site Johnstown Flood National Memorial Friendship Hill National Historic Site Steamtown National Historic Site Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area (also includes sections in New Jersey) Upper Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Egan Cornachione of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $20.2 billion of direct spending by more than 318 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 329,000 jobs nationally; 268,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $40.1 billion.

Lodging expenses account for the largest share of visitor spending, about $6.8 billion in 2018. Food expenses are the second largest spending area and visitors spent $4 billion in restaurants and bars and another $1.4 billion at grocery and convenience stores.

Visitor spending on lodging supported more than 58,000 jobs and more than 61,000 jobs in restaurants. Visitor spending in the recreation industries supported more than 28,000 jobs and spending in retail supported more than 20,000 jobs.

Report authors also produce an interactive tool that enables users to explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm. 

To learn more about national parks in state name and how the National Park Service works with state name communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/PA.