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Tourism at 17 national park sites in Virginia creates $926.3 million in economic benefit

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 23,398,517 visitors to national parks in Virginia spent $926.3 million and supported 13,256 jobs in the state in 2012.

“The national parks of Virginia attract visitors from across the country and around the world,” Mike Caldwell, NPS Northeast Regional Director, was quoted as saying in a news release. “Whether they are out for an afternoon, a school field trip, or a 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.”

The 17 national parks in Virginia are:Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Arlington House - The Robert E. Lee Memorial, Assateague Island National Seashore, Blue Ridge Parkway, Booker T. Washington National Monument, Colonial National Historical Park, Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, George Washington Birthplace National Monument, George Washington Memorial Parkway, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, Manassas National Battlefield Park, Petersburg National Battlefield, Prince William Forest Park, Richmond National Battlefield Park, Shenandoah National Park, and Wolf Trap National Park for The Performing Arts.

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

The report shows $14.7 billion of direct spending by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 243,000 jobs nationally, with 201,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.75 billion.

According to the report most visitor spending supports jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores (39 percent), hotels, motels and B&Bs (27 percent), and other amusement and recreation (20 percent).

To download the report visit

The report includes information for visitor spending by park and by state.

To learn more about national parks in Virginia and how the National Park Service works with Virginia communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to

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