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Park tourism in Texas creates $338.3 million in economic benefit


Last updated 4/23/2015 at Noon

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that the 4,680,378 visitors to national parks in Texas in 2014 spent $238.9 million in the state. That spending supported 3,743 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the state economy of $338.3 million. It also represents a 27 percent increase in spending and an 18.8 percent rise in visitation over 2013.

“From Guadalupe Mountains to Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, the national parks of Texas draw nearly 4.7 million visitors a year from across the country and around the world,” said Sue Masica, director of the NPS Intermountain Region, which includes Texas and seven other states.

“Whether they are out for an afternoon, on a school field trip or crossing America on a family vacation, park visitors come for a great experience — and they end up spending a little money along the way.

This new report confirms that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 America invests in the National Park Service.

This reality makes national parks tourism a big factor in the economy of Texas, too.

It’s a result we all can support.”

The 13 national parks of Texas include: Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains national parks; Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument; Chamizal National Memorial; Fort Davis and Palo Alto Battlefield national historic sites; Lyndon B. Johnson and San Antonio Missions national historical sites; Padre Island National Seashore; Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River; Big Thicket National Preserve, and Amistad and Lake Meredith national recreation areas.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and NPS economist Lynne Koontz. Nationally, the report shows that a record 292.8 million park visitors directly spent $15.7 billion in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 277,000 jobs, 235,600 of them in those “gateway” communities near the parks. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $29.7 billion.

According to the 2014 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (30.6 percent). Other major categories include food and beverages (20.3 percent), gas and oil (11.9 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.9 percent).

To download the report, visit The report includes information for visitor spending by park and by state.

To learn more about the national parks of Texas and how the National Park Service works with communities in the state to help preserve local history, conserve the environment and provide outdoor recreation, go to


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