Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ohio's seven national park sites are popular revenue generators

Ohio's small packet of national park sites, monuments and areas are all valuable commodities to the state's economy.

In a review and analysis of visitors attracted to the handful of National Park Service sites in Ohio, a total of 2.4 million visits were logged in 2013. And these visitors spent $149 million, supporting 2,300 jobs, says Patricia Trapp, the Park Service's acting director for the agency's 12-state Midwest Region and which includes Ohio.

Both the number of visitors and the expenditure figures are lower than in 2012. The reason, the Park Service's annalists determined, was due in large measure to the ordered shuttering of most federal government activities in October 2013.

That is when the federal spending debate between the Congress and Obama Administration reached a fever pitch, resulting in a temporary cut-off of tax dollars intended to keep the government wheels moving.

In all, Ohio hosts seven National Park Service sites. They include the 25.38-acre Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial on South Bass Island, the 4.9-acre James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor, the 20,339-acre Cuyahoga Valley National Park between Akron and Cleveland, the First Ladies National Historic Site in Canton, the 1,770-acre Hopewell Culture National Historic Park, the three-acre William Howard Taft National Historic Site, and the 86-acre Dayton Aviation National Historic Park (Wright Brothers bicycle shop and other historical attributes) in Dayton.

Attendance varies widely with these sites, too. They range from fewer than 15,000 visitors annually for each of the two presidential sites (Garfield and Taft) to slightly more than 2 million for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Never-the-less all of Ohio's National Park holdings are important in the telling of the country's history and culture as well as providing recreational and educational opportunities, says Trapp.

“Whether it's a day trip or a long family vacation, visitors comes for a great experience and in the process they contribute money to the local economy,” Trapp said.

Trapp also said the peer-reviewed report notes that national park tourism overall is an important economic driver, returning $10 for every $1 invested by the National Park Service.

Also, says Trapp, the report notes that 274 million visits were made nationally in the abbreviated 2013 calendar year. Even so, direct spending by these visitors was $14.6 billion, supporting 237,000 jobs.

“This reality makes national parks tourism an important factor in Ohio's economy as well,” Trapp said. also. “It's a result we all can appreciate and support.”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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