The first report found that in 2012 national parks had 3.9 million more visitors than in 2011, with a total of 282.8 million visitors in 2012, Krista Langlois reports for High Country News. In 2012, park visitors spent $14.7 billion and supported 243,000 jobs, mostly in hotels, restaurants and bars.
During the 16-day shutdown in October, 401 parks were closed, resulting in a loss of $414 million in tourism dollars when 7.88 million people were turned away, Langlois writes. States that spent their own money to keep their parks open benefited from doing so. Utah, for instance, spent $999,000 to keep its parks open for six days and got $9.95 million in return. (Read more)