Shenandoah National Park Helps Bring in Nearly $2 Billion to Virginia

by Amy Myers
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Recently, Virginia announced that its national parks, memorials and historical sites raked in nearly $2 billion for the state last year, and a big reason for this big money was Shenandoah National Park’s visitation. In 2021, Virginia’s national parks and sites saw 22,233,323 total visitors that spent over $1.2 million. This resulted in 18,000 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the state economy of over $1.9 billion. 

The news became official as the National Park Service released the latest information regarding the 2021 visitor spending analysis. According to the data, Shenandoah National Park visitation was up more than 15 percent from 2020. And that resulted in more spending across the board.

“Economists at the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey conducted the peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis,” the NPS explained. “The report shows that nationwide, $20.5 billion of direct spending by more than 297 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 322,600 jobs nationally; 269,900 of those jobs are in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $42.5 billion.”

Of course, Shenandoah National Park was a large part of the equation. However, it was far from the only park that helped bring in state revenue. Fellow parklands like the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, George Washington Birthplace National Monument and literally dozens of other parks had visitors booking a trip to the state for lovers.

“As for the economics of visitor spending,” the park added, “the lodging sector had the highest direct effects, with $7 billion in economic output nationally. The restaurants sector was had the second greatest effects, with $4.2 billion in economic output nationally.”

Shenandoah National Park Celebrates Its Residents as Much as Its Visitors

Virginia is clearly very grateful for the influx of visitors and revenue from last year’s numbers. Meanwhile, national park officials have also made sure to point the spotlight toward the wild residents that helped attract so many travelers to the state, too.

Among the animals that frequent Shenandoah National Park, in particular, are the Eastern wild turkeys. According to the park, finding these birds is a “fan favorite” experience.

The more widely-known (and dangerous) celebrity of the park, though, is the black bear and cubs. Visitors at Shenandoah National Park often see black bears spring through fall as sows teach their young how to forage. With how incredible these creatures are, naturally, the park wants to ensure that they stick around for generations to come.

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