Yellowstone economic activity generated just over $400 million in spending in communities surrounding the national park and supported 5,619 jobs in the local area, according to an new economic-impact report prepared by the National Park Service.
The report, performed by U.S. Geological Survey economists for the NPS, measured economic activity generated by all National Parks in 2012, when 282 million recreational visits were tallied. The impacts were limited to communities within 60 miles of a National Park, which omits any account of Yellowstone economic activity in Bozeman or Billings, the two largest Yellowstone gateway communities. Having a greater economic impact, per the report: Grand Teton National Park, where $454,093,600 in economic impact could be traced park visitors.
All in all. NPS visitors spent $14.7 billion in local gateway regions (defined as communities within 60 miles of a park), supporting 243,000 jobs, $9.3 billion in labor income, $15.8 billion in value added, and $26.8 billion in output. As you might expect, most of the spending was on lodging sector (40,000 jobs and $4.5 billion in spending), followed by spending at restaurants and bars, with 51,000 jobs and $3 billion in spending in local communities.
That National Parks are economic generators is not questioned, and the gateway communities certainly rely on Yellowstone economic activity. In some ways Yellowstone is an anomaly: overall, only 1 percent of all National Park visitors spend the night in a NPS lodge, but that figure is surely higher in Yellowstone National Park.
Despite the status of Yellowstone as a leading National Park, it did not lead the report’s rankings of economic impacts: Blue Ridge Parkway ($902,472,100), Great Smokies National Park ($741,499,100) and Grand Canyon National Park ($453,641,300) all outpaced Yellowstone economic activity.