Report: Blue Ridge Parkway adds up to jobs, money

A new National Park Service report shows that more than 14.5 million visitors spent $299 million along the Blue Ridge Parkway and in surrounding communities in 2010. That spending supported more than 4,008 jobs.

Under the same economic model, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park claims its 9 million visitors spent over $818 million in the gateway communities surrounding the Park, with 11,367 local jobs were supported by Park visitor spending.

"The people and the business owners in communities near national parks have always known their economic value," said Parkway Superintendent Phil Francis. "The Blue Ridge Parkway is clean, green fuel for the engine that drives our local economy."

The figures are included in an overall total of $12 billion spent by 281 million visitors in 394 national parks and nearby communities, which are reported in an annual, peer-reviewed, visitor spending analysis conducted by a Michigan State University professor for the National Park Service.

Most of the spending and jobs is related to lodging, food, and beverage service (52 percent) followed by other retail (29 percent); entertainment and amusements (10 percent); gas and local transportation (7 percent); and groceries (2 percent).

To download the report visit and click on Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation and Payroll, 2010.

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