Brecksville, Ohio – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 2,284,612 visitors to Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) in 2015 spent $144 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 2,415 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $203 million.
System-wide visitation set a new record in 2015 with 307.2 million recreation visits, a 4.9% increase (up 14.5 million visits) compared to the previous record of 292.8 million recreation visits in 2014 (Ziesler, 2016). The NPS centennial is expected to extend this visitation surge throughout 2016, bringing even more people to America’s parks.
“Cuyahoga Valley National Park welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Craig Kenkel. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides. We also feature the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $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 U.S. Geological Survey economist Catherine Cullinane Thomas and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz. The report shows $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally and the cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion.
According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent).
Report authors this year produced an interactive graphics tool to help illustrate their numbers. Users can explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for the nation, states, and at the park level economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and the Visitor Spending Effects report are available at https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm
To learn more about national parks in Ohio and how the National Park Service works with Ohio communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/OHIO.
CVNP encompasses 33,000 acres along the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. Managed by the National Park Service, CVNP combines cultural, historical, recreational, and natural activities in one setting. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/cuva or call 330-657-2752.
About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s over 410 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.