RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A new report shows 3.6 million visitors to Black Hills area national parks in South Dakota spent about $231 million in 2021.
That had a cumulative benefit to the state economy of $301 million and resulted in about 3,360 jobs. The analysis was done by economists at the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey.
“National parks are a vital part of our nation’s economy, especially for park gateway communities where millions of visitors each year find a place to sleep and eat, hire outfitters and guides and make use of other local services that help drive a vibrant tourism and outdoor recreation industry,” said Mount Rushmore Superintendent Michelle Wheatley. “Visitors to the Black Hills area can find exciting new recreational opportunities and learning experiences in and around our five national parks.”
Area national parks include Badlands National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Wind Cave National Park.
Overall, the report shows $20.5 billion of direct spending by more than 297 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park, the Rapid City Journal reported.
The spending supported 322,600 jobs nationally with a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $42.5 billion.
The lodging sector had the highest direct effects, with $7 billion spending nationally. The restaurants sector had the second greatest effect, with about $4 billion spending.