PA State Parks Drew $818 Million in Sales, Supported 10k Jobs

A new report shows Pennsylvania state parks serve as economic generators in the communities that surround them, tying our natural resources to the Commonwealth’s economic vitality.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources commissioned the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management at Penn State to conduct an economic impact analysis of state parks based on 2008 data.

The evaluation showed Pennsylvania state parks hosted over 34.1 million visitors who spent $818.3 million on their trips, supported 10,551 jobs, provided $291.4 million in labor income. The spending total includes the impact of businesses selling goods and services directly to visitors, and industries that sell goods or services to tourism-related businesses.

Economic Impact of Pennsylvania State Parks Full Report (.pdf) (206 kb, 5/10)

Economic Impact of Pennsylvania State Parks Park Specific Reports (.pdf) (622 kb, 5/10)

Other findings of the report include:

  • The statewide sales impact of out-of-state visitors was $191.4 million. Out-of-state visitor spending contributed to 2,424 jobs, $67.8 million in labor income, and $108.6 million in value added effects.
  • Comparing the income return (value added) from out-of-state visitor expenditures with reported General Fund expenditures of $62.8 million revealed a favorable return on investment for the Commonwealth. For every dollar invested in state parks, $7.40 of income (value added) is returned to Pennsylvania.
  • Restaurants/bars and gas/oil represented the largest percentage of visitor spending, followed by groceries and take out food/drinks. The smallest percentage of visitor spending was associated with marinas and camping fees.

Pennsylvania has 117 state parks and three conservation areas. The system’s nearly 300,000 acres saw an increase in visitors in 2009 to 38.6 million compared to 34.1 million in 2008.


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