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Report: Panhandle National Monuments create $12.3 million in economic benefits

Report: Panhandle National Monuments create $12.3 million in economic benefits

Gering, NE – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that visitors to Scotts Bluff National Monument and Agate Fossil Beds National Monument spent $11.0 million in communities within a 60 mile radius of the parks. That spending supported 164 jobs in the local areas and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $12.3 million.

“Scotts Bluff National Monument is a stopping point for many visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Morford. “We are delighted to share the story of the Westward Expansion and the experiences this area provides. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

Superintendent Hill states “Agate Fossil Beds and Scotts Bluff National Monuments draw thousands of visitors to the area, benefiting the local community economies through tourists’ time and money spent, as well as introducing visitors to the area’s other attractions. We’re pleased to be such an integral part of the local economy.”

Service-wide the report shows $18.2 billion of direct spending by more than 330 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 306,000 jobs nationally; 255,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $35.8 billion.

The lodging sector received the highest direct contributions with $5.5 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 49,000 jobs. The restaurants sector received the next greatest direct contributions with $3.7 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 60,400 jobs.

According to the 2017 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging/camping (32.9 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.5 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (10.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.0 percent), and local transportation (7.5 percent).

Report authors also produce an interactive tool that enables users to explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage:

To learn more about national parks in Nebraska and how the National Park Service works with Nebraska communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to

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