RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia's national park sites yielded nearly $1 billion in economic benefits with more than 23 million visits in 2012, according to a report released Monday by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The report outlined 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, nearly 23.4 million recreation visits were recorded in 2012 at Virginia's national park sites that include 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, visitors in Virginia spent $926.3 million while visiting national parks in 2012, supporting more than 13,250 jobs in Virginia. Lodging accounts for most of that spending, followed by restaurants and bars, groceries, gas and souvenirs, admissions and fees.
"Virginia is a significant state in terms of its total visitation and visitors love to see these great parks in Virginia," National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said in a conference call with reporters on Monday.