TRIANGLE, VA — A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 294,916 visitors to Prince William Forest Park in 2022 spent $19.1 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 222 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $27 million.
“Since 1916, the National Park Service has been entrusted with the care of our national parks. With the help of volunteers and partners, we safeguard these special places and share their stories with more than 300 million visitors every year. The impact of tourism to national parks is undeniable, bringing jobs and revenue to communities in every state in the country and making national parks an essential driver to the national economy,” said National Park Service Director Chuck Sams.
“People come to Prince William Forest Park to visit the historic Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) era cabin camps, go camping, and explore the dozens of miles of recreation trails through the Piedmont forest ecosystem,” said Superintendent George Liffert. “We recognize that this tourism is a critical driver to the local economy, bringing 222 jobs and $19.1 million in revenue to communities within 60 miles of the park.”
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists at the National Park Service. The report shows $23.9 billion of direct spending by nearly 312 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 378,400 jobs nationally; 314,600 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $50.3 billion.
As for the economics of visitor spending, the lodging sector had the highest direct effects, with $9 billion in economic output nationally. The restaurant sector had the second greatest effects, with $4.6 billion in economic output nationally.
The 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: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm.
To learn more about national parks in Virginia and how the National Park Service works with Virginia communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to https://www.nps.gov/state/va/index.htm
About Prince William Forest Park. Prince William Forest Park, the largest green space in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, is a natural oasis of clean water and wild plants. With dozens of miles of trails for hiking and miles of quiet roadways for bicycling, the park is a haven for outdoor recreation enthusiasts. The 15,000-acre park preserves thousands of years of archeology and history including stories of indigenous peoples, an integrated community where African Americans and Caucasians lived side by side, and a successful mine where "fool's gold" was extracted from the earth. In the Great Depression, to provide meaningful employment to unemployed young men, the Civilian Conservation Corps was established; the CCC built cabin camps and reservoirs and the park opened its gates to the public in 1936. While the initial park was created to provide outdoor camps for organized low-income youth groups from Washington, DC, Prince William Forest Park's fragrant woods and trickling streams have now welcomed generations of tent campers, cabin campers, hikers, bikers and nature lovers from around the region. For more information, visit the park website or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
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