A recent press release issued from the office of Superintendent Dave Uberuaga confirmed that Grand Canyon National Park continued to serve as an economic engine and job creator during the 2013 calendar year. Grand Canyon’s 4.5 million visitors last year spent a little over $475 million in and around the iconic park, and in so doing supported over 6,000 jobs. The numbers would have been even higher without the federal shutdown last October, which kept visitors away during a two week period in October which would otherwise have been bustling with gawkers, hikers, backpackers, and river runners.
The press release went on to note that National Park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy as well – returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park. These findings and more can be found in the recently-released, peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service. This document provides further proof that the value of National Parks far exceeds the Department of Interior’s noble goal of preserving and protecting our proud natural and cultural heritage for the benefit all. Everyone would do well to keep these numbers handy as we approach the mid-term elections, and to let their elected officials know how much we all value these national treasures.