The Ely Times

A new National Park Service report shows that 153,000 visitors to Great Basin National Park in 2018 spent $8.8 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 121 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $9.0 million.

“Great Basin welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent James Woolsey. “We are delighted to share the story of the Great Basin. The park is just a tiny piece of this special place, the Great Basin Desert, but introduces our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers.

“National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it is a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors in White Pine County and Millard County, Utah, and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain all our local communities.”

The peer-reviewed visitor 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 shows $20.2 billion of direct spending by more than 318 million park visitors in communities surrounding a national park. 

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

Lodging expenses account for the largest share of visitor spending, about $6.8 billion in 2018. Food expenses are the second largest spending area and visitors spent $4 billion in restaurants and bars and another $1.4 billion at grocery and convenience stores.

Visitor spending on lodging supported more than 58,000 jobs and more than 61,000 jobs in restaurants. Visitor spending in the recreation industries supported more than 28,000 jobs and spending in retail supported more than 20,000 jobs.