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Park brought $16.8 million to local economy, report says

Fort Clatsop supported 260 local jobs last year

Visitors tour the Fort Clatsop replica at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. (Courtesy Fort Clatsop)
Friday, May 11, 2018

A new National Park Service report shows that 293,000 people visited Lewis and Clark National Historical Park in 2017.

And those visitors spent $16.8 million in Clatsop County. That spending supported 260 local jobs and created a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $23.9 million, park officials reported.

“Just as Lewis and Clark trekked many miles to get to their winter quarters at Fort Clatsop, visitors walk in their footsteps to the sites that are preserved today in Lewis and Clark National Historical Park,” Superintendent Jon Burpee said.

“With our partners, we share the story of the Corps of Discovery and protect the 3,410 acres of this inspiring landscape for the enjoyment of our visitors,” he said.

The park serves as a gateway for visitors headed to all the other historic destinations in the Lower Columbia basin.

“National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service,” Burpee said. “And it’s a big factor in the area economy as well.”

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.  

Nationally, the report shows $18.2 billion of direct spending by more than 330 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park.

The spending supported 306,000 jobs nationally; 255,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $35.8 billion, park officials said.

The lodging sector received the highest direct contribution, with $5.5 billion in economic output to gateway economies and 49,000 jobs. The restaurants sector received the next greatest direct contribution, with $3.7 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 60,500 jobs.

About 33 percent of park visitor spending was for lodging and camping, followed by food and beverages, 27.5 percent; gas and oil, 12 percent; souvenirs and other expenses, 10 percent; admissions and fees, 10 percent; and local transportation, 7.5 percent, according to the 2017 report.

Report authors also produce an interactive tool that enable 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,

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