Yosemite vis­i­tors con­trib­ute $624 mil­lion to lo­cal econ­omy

Discover Highway 120 - - SHOP HIGHWAY - By Guy McCarthy Con­tact Guy McCarthy at gm­c­carthy@ union­demo­crat. com or 5884585. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @ GuyMcCarth­y.

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.

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