A report by the National Park Service indicates that parks are major economic drivers for surrounding communities.
The report shows that park visitation generated more than $700 million in Wyoming in 2012 and supported thousands of jobs and local businesses. Nation-wide, tourists spent more than $26 billion when visiting parks.
During a conference call with reporters, Interior Secretary Sally Jewel said that’s evidence that the U.S. should invest in its national parks.
“For every dollar that Congress invests in our national parks system on behalf of all American people, the park produces more than 10 dollars in economic activity,” Jewel said. “And as a businesswoman, I can attest that’s a pretty strong return on investment.”
Jewel noted that parks have been facing rising costs and stagnant budgets for some time, and she called on Americans to urge their elected officials to financially support national parks and other public lands.