National parks bring nearly $50 million boost to local ND economies


A new National Park Service (NPS) study reports that visitors to North Dakota’s national parks spent $49.6 million dollars in nearby communities in 2018.

Approximately 733, 000 people visited Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park, supporting 695 jobs in the surrounding areas and having a cumulative benefit to the state economy of $65.5 million.

The peer-reviewed spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Egan Cornachione of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service.

The report showsthat nationwide more than 318 million park visitors spent $20.2 billion in communities located within 60 miles of a national park.

That spending supported 329,000 jobs nationally; 268,000 of those jobs are found in gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $40.1 billion.

The 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:

To learn more about national parks in North Dakota and how the National ParkService works with communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to


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