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Report outlines impact of national parks in Va.

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 23, 2014 at 10:51 am •  Published: July 23, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Fewer people visited Virginia's national park sites last year and spent less money during those visits, according to a report by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The report outlines the number of visits and the economic impact at the country's 400-plus sites in the national park system that draw visitors from across the country and around the world and serve as economic engines for local communities.

In Virginia, 22 million-plus recreation visits were recorded in 2013 at Virginia's national park sites — including Shenandoah National Park, Colonial National Historic Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the George Washington Memorial Parkway and Assateague Island National Seashore on the Eastern Shore, as well as numerous historic battlefields.

According to the report, released Friday, visitors in Virginia spent nearly $871 million while visiting national parks in 2013, supporting more than 12,350 jobs in Virginia. Lodging accounts for a lot of that spending, followed by restaurants and bars, groceries, gas and souvenirs, admissions and fees. That's down from the $926 million spent in 2012 with nearly 23.4 million visits in Virginia.

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