New Mexico national parks. Courtesy/NPS
DENVER – A new National Park Service report shows that nearly 1.5 million national park visitors in New Mexico in 2011 spent $102 million and supported 1,538jobs in the state.
Nationwide, visitors to the 398 units of the National Park System had a combined $30 billion economic benefit that supported 252,000 jobs.
“The national parks of New Mexico are exceptional and varied places – from the ancient mystery of Chaco Canyon to the wondrous geology of Carlsbad Caverns.
The attraction of these 13 natural and cultural crown jewels as havens for relaxation, exercise and learning about our national story is undeniable,” said John Wessels, regional director for the Park Service’s eight-state Intermountain Region, which includes New Mexico.
“New Mexico’s many park visitors, and the people of the state who live and work in communities near its national parks, are investors in these treasures of our heritage,” Wessels said. “The money that visitors spend on national park trips has positive effects on the local, state and national economies. And the local efforts of New Mexicans – those who own or work at businesses that serve local and long-distance park visitors, or who provide services for parks and park employees – are essential ingredients in these community transactions.”
New Mexico’s national parks include: Carlsbad Caverns National Park; Aztec Ruins National Monument; Bandelier National Monument; Capulin Volcano National Monument; El Malpais National Monument; El Morro National Monument; Fort Union National Monument; Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument; Petroglyph National Monument; Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument; White Sands National Monument; Chaco Culture National Historic Park, and Pecos National Historic Park.
In 2011, these parks welcomed a combined 1,491,144 visitors.
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by Yue Cui, Ed Mahoney, and Teresa Herbowicz of Michigan State University for the National Park Service.
The report shows $13 billion of direct spending by 279 million national park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a park.