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Visit National Parks, Contribute to the Westside's Local Economy

National Park Service Quantifies Just How Much National Parks Contribute to the Local Economy


April 27, 2017


Anacapa Island Lighthouse.

Thousand Oaks, Calif. – A new National Park Service (NPS) report for 2016 shows that 906,605 park visitors spent an estimated $39.4 million in the local community while visiting Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. That spending supported 557 jobs and contributed $54.3 million to our local economy.

In the past year, visitors to Channel Islands National Park spent an estimated $22.4 million in local gateway regions, supporting 315 jobs and providing $31.9 million in economic benefit.

"The trails and scenic vistas of the Santa Monica Mountains offer an escape for nearly a million visitors each year," said Superintendent David Szymanski of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. "We are happy to know that the park also provides a strong economic benefit to the local community."

"The NPS has a presence in every community in the United States, including ours," said Channel Islands National Park Superintendent Russell Galipeau. "National park tourism is a significant driver in our economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the NPS."

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the NPS.

The report shows that, nationwide, 331 million park visitors spent $18.4 billion in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 318,000 jobs; 271,544 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $34.9 billion.


Couple on Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park

Although Middle and West Anacapa are not open to hiking (they are set aside for the island wildlife except for a small beach on the West islet called Frenchy's Cove that can be reached only by boat), East Anacapa has about 2 miles of trails. Once visitors have scaled the rugged cliffs using the stairway from the landing cove, they will find a figure eight-shaped trail system that meanders over gentle slopes to dramatic overlooks, magnificent coastal views, and the last permanent lighthouse built on the west coast. An interpretive trail guide is available on the island to interpret these and other island resources.

To learn more about national parks in California and how the NPS works with California communities, go to:

The report is available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage:


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