National Park Visits Down in 2013

Jul 25, 2014

A new report from the National Park Service shows that fewer people visited Utah’s National Parks in 2013 compared to 2012.

The number of people who attended one of Utah’s National Parks dropped by almost 1.5 million in 2013. And the amount of money that went into Utah’s economy also decreased by about $15 million. Dan Johnson is the chief of interpretation and visitor services at Dinosaur National Monument in eastern Utah. He says even though they’re in an area where the economy is driven mostly by oil and gas drilling, visitors to the park still have a major impact.

“All those visitors that do come into the area, you know they’re buying gas for vehicles, they’re staying in hotel rooms, they’re eating dinners in restaurants, so that provides stimulus, basically, to the area’s economy,” he says.

The report indicates a major contributor to the decrease in number of visitors was the federal government shutdown that took place last October. Utah Tourism Director Vicki Varela says the impact of the shutdown was felt particularly hard here in Utah.

“Utah is a huge tourism state and our parks were shut down for 10 days," she says. "So that resulted in a 5.5% set back for us in overall visitation for the year.”

In 2013 National Parks generated 9,069 jobs and added more than $477 million to Utah’s economy.

By the Numbers

2012

Total Visits: 9,503,305

Total Visitor Spending: $613.7 million

Jobs: 9,416

Value Added: $492.9 million

2013

Total Visits: 8,090,143

Total Visitor Spending: $596.5 million

Jobs: 9,069

Value Added: $477.9 million

Difference

Total Visits: -1,413,162

Total Visitor Spending: -$17.2 million

Jobs: -347

Value Added: -$15 million