Economic Impact of Pennsylvania State Parks


Recent studies show that the total contribution of State Park visitor spending to the state economy was $1.145 billion in sales and 12,630 jobs. For every dollar invested in state parks, $12.41 of value added income is returned to Pennsylvania.

A 2011 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 based on the 38 million visitors who visited Pennsylvania State Parks in 2010.

The evaluation showed that visitors spent $859 million on their trips, supporting 12,630 jobs, and providing $397.8 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. These figures represent an increased economic impact when compared to 2008. This increase can be attributed to increased visitation levels experienced in 2010, as well as multiplier adjustments and cost of living adjustments.

Economic Impact of Pennsylvania State Parks 2-page Summary (.pdf) (21 kb, 2/12)

Economic Impact of Pennsylvania State Parks Full Report (.pdf) (1.8 mb, 2/12)

Economic Impact of Pennsylvania State Parks Park Specific Reports (.pdf) (399 kb, 3/12)

Other findings of the report include:

 

  • The statewide sales impact of out-of-state visitors was $274.2 million. Out-of-state visitor spending contributed to 2,976 jobs, $94.6 million in labor income, and $154.5 million in value added effects.
  • Comparing the income return (value added) from out-of-state visitor expenditures with reported General Fund expenditures of $52.3 million revealed a favorable return on investment for the Commonwealth. For every dollar invested in state parks, $12.41 of income (value added) is returned to Pennsylvania.
  • Including secondary effects, the total contriution of visitor spending to the state economy was $1.145 billion in sales, 12,630 jobs, 397.8 million in labor income, and $649 million in value added effects.
  • 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 120 state parks. The system’s nearly 300,000 acres saw an increase in visitors in 2010 to 38.4 million compared to 34.1 million in 2008.