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Study says national parks boost economy in West

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 19, 2014 at 3:26 pm •  Published: July 19, 2014
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JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — National parks and monuments boosted the economies of surrounding communities in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho by a combined $1.15 billion last year, according to a new study.

Wyoming saw $723.3 million in spending by visitors to parks and monuments run by the National Park Service; Montana, $397.3 million; and Idaho, $29.4 million.

On Friday, the National Park Service released a report that says spending on hotels, restaurants, gas and supplies by visitors to U.S. national parks in 2013 contributed $14.6 billion in economic benefits to communities within 60 miles of the parks nationwide.

Wyoming, Idaho and Montana share parts of Yellowstone National Park, where visitors spent almost $382 million in nearby communities. Yellowstone had 3.18 million visitors in 2013.

The study showed that 49 percent of Yellowstone spending benefited Wyoming and 51 percent benefited Montana.

Visitors to Grand Teton National Park and the adjoining John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway spent more than $502 million in northwest Wyoming and eastern Idaho communities.

"We understand the part we play in creating a healthy and sustainable economic base, and we appreciate the support of area businesses, neighbors and park partners for our national parks," Grand Teton National Park Superintendent David Vela said in a statement.

More than 2 million visited Glacier National Park in Montana, spending more than $178 million.

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