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Big bucks: National Park tourism in Montana creates $1B in economic benefit 

New report shows visitor spending supports 11,194 jobs in Montana
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Posted at 2:43 PM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 18:17:50-04

LAKEWOOD, CO – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 5,946,419 visitors to national parks in Montana spent $728,800,000 in the state in 2021. That spending resulted in 11,194 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the state economy of $1,075,300,000.

The national parks in Montana are:

  • Big Hole National Battlefield 
  • Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area 
  • Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site
  • Glacier National Park 
  • Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site        
  • Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail 
  • Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail 
  • Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument             
  • Nez Perce National Historical Park 
  • Yellowstone National Park 

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists at the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. The report shows $20.5 billion of direct spending by more than 297 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 322,600 jobs nationally; 269,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $42.5 billion.

As for the economics of visitor spending, the lodging sector had the highest direct effects, with $7 billion in economic output nationally. The restaurant sector had the second greatest effect, with $4.2 billion in economic output nationally.

Report authors also produced 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 [nps.gov]

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