Outdoors

Washington's economy got a $677-million boost from national parks in 2017, study claims

The setting sun casts a glow on Mount Rainier as a meadow of Lupine is consumed in a gathering dusk in the sub-alpine meadows above Paradise.
The setting sun casts a glow on Mount Rainier as a meadow of Lupine is consumed in a gathering dusk in the sub-alpine meadows above Paradise. Tacoma News Tribune file

Visitors to Washington's National Park Service sites infused $677 million into the state's economy, according to a recent study.

In 2017, 8.4 million people visited Washington's 15 NPS-operated parks and spent more than $562 million in the state, according to the spending analysis conducted by the park service and the U.S. Geological Survey. The report claims the spending resulted in 6,540 jobs and a $677 cumulative benefit to the state.

“The national parks of Washington state attract visitors from across the country and around the world,” Martha Lee, acting Pacific West Region director, said in a statement prepared by the NPS. “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.”

In addition to Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic national parks, the NPS oversees 12 parks in the state including Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area and Seattle's Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.

The report claims that 330 million park visitors nationwide spent $18.2 billion in communities within 60 miles of a national park supporting 306,000 jobs. The total impact on the U.S. economy was $35.8 billion, according to the report.

According to the report, in Washington, 30.2 percent of the spending went to lodging, 20.1 percent went to restaurants, 12.5 percent went to fuel and 10.1 went to retail.

Visitor spending dropped from $526 in 2016, but is over for $500 million for the second time since 2012.

Olympic National Park's $279-million economic impacts was listed as the 13th highest in the country.

Craig Hill: 253-597-8497
  Comments