Weir Farm and National Park Service Report on Economic Impact

NP Tourism in Connecticut Creates 2.3 Million in Economic Benefit

Distributed by Weir Farm, July 6, 2017

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that more than 39,000 national park visitors in Connecticut spent $2,300,000 in the state in 2016. That spending resulted in 33 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the state economy of $3,100,000.

 "Weir Farm National Historic Site, Connecticut's first national park site, attracts visitors from across the street and across the world," said NPS Northeast Region Acting Director Joshua Laird. 

"Whether seeking nature or culture, adventure or respite, people from all walks of life travel to national parks for great experiences and spend money along the way. This new report shows that investing in the National Park Service yields big returns for both local and national economies, with every dollar spent on NPS sites bringing $10 in revenue. National Parks are job creators here in Connecticut and across the nation."

 Weir Farm National Historic Site is the only reporting national park in Connecticut, however there are several areas in the state that are managed by the National Park Service including the Upper Housatonic National Heritage Area, Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor, New England National Scenic Trail, Farmington and Eightmile Wild and Scenic Rivers, and the newly established Coltsville National Historical Park in Hartford. As with all National Heritage Areas and Trails, these were not included in this study but undeniably contribute to the state economy.

 "Weir Farm National Historic Site supports venues, museums, historical sites, and cultural organizations throughout the region, bolstering tourism in the area by drawing visitors and professionals," Said Superintended Linda Cook. "Visitors from near and far come to experience this unique national park and other cultural arts opportunities in the area, and then spend time and money enjoying the services provided by our neighboring communities. The National Park Service is proud to have been entrusted with the care of America's most treasured places and delighted that the visitors we welcome generate significant contributions to the local, state, and national economies."

 The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service.  The report shows $18.4 billion of direct spending by 331 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 318,000 jobs nationally; 271,544,000 of those jobs are found in these 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%).

Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year 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 Connecticut and how the National Park Service works with Connecticut communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/ct.