WATROUS ― A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 10,860 visitors to Fort Union National Monument in 2018 spent $740,000 in communities near the park.
That spending supported 10 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $830,000.
“Fort Union National Monument is proud to be part of the northern New Mexico community,” Superintendent Lorenzo Vigil said. “We are pleased that our historical appeal is satisfying to visitors in a way that makes them spend more time in the area. As visitors spend more time here, they learn more about the nature and history of New Mexico and they spend more money. More money means more jobs. 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 are happy to be able to give back to the local community.”
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Egan Cornachione of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $20.2 billion of direct spending by more than 318 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 329,000 jobs nationally; 268,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $40.1 billion.
Lodging expenses account for the largest share of visitor spending, about $6.8 billion in 2018. Food expenses are the second largest spending area and visitors spent $4 billion in restaurants and bars and another $1.4 billion at grocery and convenience stores.
Visitor spending on lodging supported more than 58,000 jobs and more than 61,000 jobs in restaurants. Visitor spending in the recreation industries supported more than 28,000 jobs and spending in retail supported more than 20,000 jobs.
Report authors also produce 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 New Mexico and how the National Park Service works with New Mexico communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/NewMexico.
To visit the monument take exit 366 of I-25 at Watrous, NM, on to State Highway 161, 8 miles west. For more information, contact Fort Union National Monument at (505).425.8025. You can find our free APP in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. Search for Fort Union National Monument. Visit www.nps.gov/foun, or like on us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FortUnionNM. Visit www.nps.gov/foun, or like us on Facebook.