Visitors to the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway spent more than $8 million in communities surrounding the park, according to a new report released by the National Park Service.
The report — conducted by Michigan State University for the National Park Service — says 273,729 people visited the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway in 2011, and spent about $8.8 million in the surrounding communities.
That cash supported 137 jobs in the area.
“The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway is a wonderful place to learn about America’s story,” Park Superintendent Chris Stein said in a news release. “We attract visitors from across the U.S. and around the world who come here to experience the park and then spend time and money enjoying the services provided by our neighboring communities and getting to know this amazing part of the country. The National Park Service is proud to have been entrusted with the care of America’s most treasured places and delighted that the visitors we welcome generate significant contributions to the local, state, and national economy.”
In 2011, 279 million park visitors nationwide spent $13 billion in communities within 60 miles of a national park, the report states. Overall, park visitors had a $30 billion impact on the entire U.S. economy and supported 252,000 jobs nationwide.
According to the report, 63 percent of the visitor spending supports jobs in lodging, food and beverage services, followed by recreation and entertainment (17 percent), retail (11 percent), transportation and fuel (7 percent) and wholesale and manufacturing (2 percent).