Crested Pool

Yellowstone Economic Impact: $543.7M

We spend a lot of time discussing the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem here, but today’s news covers the financial ecosystem, as a new federal government study pegs the Yellowstone economic impact at $543.7 million annually.

That Yellowstone National Park is an important economic engine in northwestern Wyoming and southern Montana is well known; hang out any gateway community in July and August and you’ll see the dollars trading hands. What U.S. Geological Survey and National Park Service economists are attempting to do with a new report: quantify that impact by looking at 2014 spending.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz. The report shows $15.7 billion of direct spending by 292.8 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 277,000 jobs nationally; 235,600 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $29.7 billion.

You can view the study here, which covers all spending buy visitors to national parks. The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

“Yellowstone National Park welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said acting Superintendent Steve Iobst. “National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our gateway communities, regional tourism organizations and the states of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana, and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

According to the 2014 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (30.6 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.3 percent), gas and oil (11.9 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.9 percent).

Photo of Crested Pool in Upper Geyser Basin, March 2015, by Jim Peaco via under Creative Commons license.


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