Crater Lake, Oregon Caves boost local economy

The National Park Service has issued a report noting that in 2016 Crater Lake National Park and Oregon Caves National Monument drew more than 800,000 visitors, who spent an estimated $71 million in communities near the parks.

The report said that spending supported nearly 1,200 jobs in the region and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $96.8 million.

"Crater Lake and the Oregon Caves welcome visitors from across the country and around the world," said Crater Lake Superintendent Craig Ackerman and Oregon Caves Superintendent Vicki Snitzler in a joint press release. "... National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning more than $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s a big factor in our local economy, as well."

The release noted that the two sites work closely with regional and state tourism offices such as Travel Southern Oregon, Discover Klamath and Travel Oregon in attracting visitors and directing them to local services.

The visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. Nationally, the report shows $18.4 billion of direct spending by 331 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. The spending supported 318,000 jobs nationally; 271,544 of those jobs in gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $34.9 billion.

According to the 2016 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.2 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.2 percent), gas and oil (11.7 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent) and camping fees (2.5 percent).

The report authors also produced an interactive tool that allows users to explore current-year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, and 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,

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