|Picture of Franklin Mountains courtesy of Scott M. Cutler|
Read the following press release dated July 18, 2014 from Karl Pierce of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Now imagine preserving more of our Franklin Mountains, saving Cement Lake, providing enough water for the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park and conserving Castner Range. Come on, El Paso! Good stewardship of open space means major eco-tourist dollars!
Tourism to Guadalupe Mountains National Park creates $8,500,500 in Economic Benefit
Report shows visitor spending supports 111 jobs in local economy
Pine Springs, TX – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 145,670 visitors to Guadalupe Mountains National Park in 2013 spent more than $8.5 million in communities near the
park. That spending supported 111 jobs in the local area.
“Guadalupe Mountains National Park is proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Dennis A. Vásquez. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides and to use the park as a way to introduce 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’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.”
Vásquez continued “as we begin to wind down summer and head into fall, which is traditionally the busiest time for park visitation, people come from around the region to enjoy the colorful fall foliage in McKittrick Canyon, Smith Spring, Dog Canyon and Devil’s’ Hall during Fall Colors. In the coming weeks, we will open the new Salt Basin Dunes Day Use Area, near Dell City, and are confident that visitors will enjoy that unique area of the park, which contains the third largest gypsum dune field in the world. The park contains the largest Congressionally-designated wilderness area in the state of Texas, and we hope everyone will join us as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964 this fall. We look forward to partnering with the Texas Mountain Trail, the Texas Master Naturalists and others on a variety of programs. We invite our neighbors, from throughout Far West Texas and Southern New Mexico, to actively participate in upcoming park planning efforts, such as a new wilderness stewardship plan,
through http://parkplanning.nps.gov, through participation in public meetings, or by contacting your park with questions, concerns or suggestions, in addition to enjoying the wonderful natural, cultural and recreational resources that this park offers.”
The 2013 economic benefit figures are somewhat lower than the 2012 results. The 16-day government shutdown in October 2013, along with closures of the park, which resulted from historic
flooding and storms damage in September 2013, accounted for most of the decline in park visitation. The authors also cited inflation adjustments for differences between visitation and visitor spending, jobs supported and overall effect on the U.S. economy.
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the National Park
Service. The report shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported more than 237,000 jobs nationally, with more than 197,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.5 billion.
According to the 2013 economic analysis, most visitor spending was for lodging (30.3 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.3 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), admissions and fees
(10.3 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (10 percent).
The largest jobs categories supported by visitor spending were restaurants and bars (50,000 jobs) and lodging (38,000 jobs).
To download the report visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm. The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state. To learn more about national parks in Texas and New Mexico, and how the National Park Service works with Texas and New Mexico communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/Texas or www.nps.gov/NewMexico.