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Healthy and General

National park tourism in the Black Hills area creates $301.4

2 min read

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 3.6 million visitors to Black Hills area national parks spent $231.6 million in the state in 2021. That spending resulted in 3,362 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the state economy of $301.4 million. 

 

“National parks are a vital part of our nation’s economy, especially for park gateway communities where millions of visitors each year find a place to sleep and eat, hire outfitters and guides and make use of other local services that help drive a vibrant tourism and outdoor recreation industry,” said Mount Rushmore Superintendent Michelle Wheatley. “Visitors to the Black Hills area can find exciting new recreational opportunities and learning experiences in and around our five national parks.” 

 

Area national parks are: Badlands National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Wind Cave National Park.  

 

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists at the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. The report shows $20.5 billion of direct spending by more than 297 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 322,600 jobs nationally; 269,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $42.5 billion. 

 

As for the economics of visitor spending, the lodging sector had the highest direct effects, with $7 billion in economic output nationally. The restaurants sector had the second greatest effects, with $4.2 billion in economic output nationally. 

 

Report authors also produced an interactive tool that enables users to explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm 

 

To learn more about national parks in the Black Hills area and how the National Park Service works with South Dakota communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/SouthDakota. 

Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.