Obed WSR Visitors Spend Nearly $4 Million Locally

Wartburg, TN (2018-06-06) A new National Park Service report shows that more than 200,000 visitors to Obed Wild and Scenic River in 2017 spent nearly $4 million in communities near the park.  That spending reportedly supported nearly 50 local jobs.

A recent survey by the National Park Service says that 214,753 visitors to Obed Wild and Scenic River in 2017 spent $3,700,000 in communities near the park.  That spending supported 47 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $3,800,000.

“Obed Wild and Scenic River welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Niki Stephanie Nicholas. Obed Wild and Scenic River is one of thirteen units of the National Park Service in Tennessee that introduces visitors to this part of the country and all it has to offer. “National Park Service tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well.  We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities,” she added.

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 $18.2 billion of direct spending by more than 330 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park.  This 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.

According to the 2017 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging/camping (32.9 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.5 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.0 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (10.1 percent), and local transportation (7.5 percent).

Users can explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies by using an interactive tool developed by the report authors.  Users can also view year-by-year trend data.  The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage:  go.nps.gov/vse.

To learn more about national parks in Tennessee and how the National Park Service works with Tennessee communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to https://www.nps.gov/state/tn/index.htm.