December 21, 2014

SMM National Recreation Area Makes Economic Impact

 

THOUSAND OAKS, CA—A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that the 650,000 visitors to national park lands in the Santa Monica Mountains spent $26 million in the surrounding community in 2012. That spending supported 336 jobs in the local area.

The report only studied the number of visitors to National Park Service land, which comprises just 15 percent of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA). The total number of visitors to the area, including lands managed by California State Parks and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, is well into the millions.

“The park's trails, scenic vistas and cultural sites draw thousands each week,” said David Szymanski, superintendent of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. “Whether they come from local neighborhoods or from afar, our visitors contribute to the local economy.”

On a national level, tourism to national parks returns $10 for every $1 invested in 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). 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. To download the report: nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm. To learn more about national parks in California and how the National Park Service works visit www.nps.gov/california.