Yosemite visitors contribute $624 million to local economy
A National Park Service report estimates more than 4 million visitors to Yosemite National Park contributed $ 624 million to local economies, including communities in Tuolumne, Mariposa, Madera and Mono counties.
The report was prepared by U. S. Geological Survey and NPS economists.
A state tourism report earlier this year showed visitors to Tuolumne County spent about $ 264 million in 2018, up by $ 14 million over the previous year.
The federal economists said visitor spending supported 6,184 local jobs. In 2017, the Park Service estimated $ 589 million in Yosemite visitor spending.
“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,” Michael Reynolds, the superintendent for Yosemite National Park since March 2018, said. “We appreciate the partnership and support of our gateway partners and neighbors.”
Federal economists said 318 million people visited national parks across the U. S. in 2018, and they spent $ 20.2 billion in communities within 60 miles of individual national parks. That spending supported 329,000 jobs nationally, with 268,000 of those jobs in gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U. S. economy was $ 40.1 billion, according to the federal economists.
The highest spending in the country was along the 469- mile Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia at $ 1.1 billion, followed closely by Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco at $ 1 billion, according to the report.
Visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park contributed $ 953 million to local economies, the highest of the national parks. The park on the North Carolina- Tennessee border usually has the most visitors of all the parks as well.