Pinnacles National Park tourism generates $16.4 million in economic benefits

Study says locals make up almost 20 percent of day trips, and that 95.6 percent of visitor spending made by non-local visitors.
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This article was contributed by Elizabeth Hudick, Pinnacles National Park.

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 233,000 visitors to Pinnacles National Park in 2017 spent $13.3 million in communities near the park.

That spending supported a total of 171 jobs, $6.5 million in labor income, $10.3 million in value added, and $16.4 million in economic output in local gateway economies surrounding Pinnacles National Park.

“We’re proud to welcome visitors from all over the world to Pinnacles National Park,” said Superintendent Karen Beppler-Dorn. “National park 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.”

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, and 255,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the national economy was $35.8 billion.

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

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), souvenirs and other expenses (10.1 percent), admissions and fees (10 percent), and local transportation (7.5 percent).

Report authors also produced an interactive tool that enables 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 at

See 2017 National Park Visitor Spending Effects Economic Contributions to Local Communities, States, and the Nation Natural Resource Report NPS/NRSS/EQD/NRR—2018/1616 PDF at the bottom of this article. 

BenitoLink Staff