From staff reports

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1,277,941 visitors to Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR) in 2015 spent $53,886,200 in communities near the park. default nps pic

Wow! That spending supported 835 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $58,400,000.

That is wonderful news to all the businesses and communities near ONSR.

“Ozark National Scenic Riverways welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Larry Johnson. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides. We also feature the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers.

“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 appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas, of the U.S. Geological Survey, and Lynne Koontz, of the National Park Service. The report shows $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park.

This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally; 252,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion.

According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent), and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent).