National Parks Create Visitors, Money & Jobs

Visitors to the National Park System (NPS) contributed more than $31 billion to local economies and supported 258,000 jobs in 2010, an increase of $689 million and 11,500 jobs over 2009, according to a report issued by the National Park Service.

This week’s announcement came in advance of today’s (March 2) White House Conference on Conservation being hosted at the Department of the Interior that will spotlight community-driven conservation efforts as part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.

“Our National Parks and other public lands continue to be economic engines that produce and support jobs in communities across America,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said.

“It is the reason President Obama signed an Executive Order last month to promote travel and tourism in the United States. By investing in our parks and promoting them to visitors, especially internationally, we can have the dual benefit of an improved National Park System and a stronger economy that produces more jobs.”

Salazar noted that recreation in national parks, refuges, and other public lands alone led to nearly $55 billion in economic contribution and 440,000 jobs in 2009.

In January, President Obama launched the creation of a Travel & Competitiveness Task Force to promote domestic and international travel opportunities throughout the United States.

A particular focus of the Task Force will be on strategies for increasing tourism and recreation jobs by promoting visits to our national treasures—including our national parks, wildlife refuges, cultural and historic sites, monuments and other public lands and waters that attract travelers from around the country and the globe.

Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota (Source NPS)

“The Department of the Interior doesn’t just oversee beautiful and historic places,” he said. “We help drive tourism and recreation that powers small businesses and creates jobs.”

The economic impact figures for the National Park System are based on $12 billion in direct spending by the 281 million visitors to parks in 2010 and are included in an annual, peer-reviewed, visitor spending analysis conducted by Dr. Daniel Stynes of Michigan State University.

“National parks are best known for their incredible beauty and the preservation of America’s historical legacy, but they are also critical assets for local economies,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

“The investment American taxpayers make in their national parks continues to offer a huge return, not only in priceless family experiences but in real jobs and economic growth in our gateway communities that ripples to suppliers across the nation.”

Most of the spending/jobs figures are related to lodging, food, and beverage service (52 percent) followed by other retail (29 percent), entertainment/amusements (10 percent), gas and local transportation (7 percent), and groceries (2 percent).

The entire National Park Service report which includes information on visitor spending by park and by state can be found online at

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (Source NPS)

The report shows that 7,080,750 visitors in 2010 spent $254,878,000 at Lake Mead National Recreation Area and communities in Nevada and Arizona near the park. That spending supported 2,452 jobs in the local areas.

“The people and the business owners in communities near national parks have always known the economic value of the parks. Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a key piece of the engine that drives our local economy” said William Dickinson, Park Superintendent.

More information on the NPS in Nevada, can be found online at

More information on the NPS in Arizona, can be found online at


National Park Service
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 397 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.


Worth Pondering…
Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another.


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Five Things You Need to Know Today: March 2

Since I like things to come in fives (and tens), here are five things YOU need to know TODAY!

1. Virginia State Parks app available

Virginia State Parks are now as close as your smartphone with the introduction of the new Virginia State Parks Pocket Ranger app. Developed collaboratively by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and ParksByNature, the new Pocket Ranger Mobile Tour Guide is available at no charge thanks to the Virginia Association for Parks and Imperial Multimedia.

Virginia is the latest of 12 states to partner with ParksByNature in developing official state park mobile tour guides. In other states, there is a basic guide and one with advanced GPS technology available at an additional charge.

Thanks to the VAFP and Imperial Multimedia, there is no charge for the advanced Virginia app. The partnership is also finalizing details on a sponsorship plan so that users are supporting Virginia State Parks each time they use the app. The mobile guide is available for Apple and some Android devices.

To download the Virginia State Parks Pocket Ranger app, go to It can also be downloaded by visiting Apple iTunes or Android Market.

2. Save with Good Sam Club Pilot Flying J RV Plus Card

Members of the Good Sam Club, the world’s largest RV owner’s organization with over 1.3 million members across North America, now enjoy a new exclusive money-saving benefit with the Good Sam Club Pilot Flying J RV Plus Card.

Good Sam Club members can apply for their Pilot Flying J RV Plus Card which will allow them to save up to $.06 on each gallon of gasoline purchased and $.08 on diesel fuel purchased; 10 cents per gallon on bulk propane purchased, and 50 percent on holding tank dump station charges at all applicable Pilot Flying J locations in the United States.

Member discount is tied to length of time as an active Good Sam Member. The longer the card holder has been active member, the larger the discount.

To continue reading, click here.

3. Newell Aligns with Tom Johnson Camping Center

Miami, Oklahoma-based Newell Coach Corp. and Tom Johnson Camping Center have joined forces to provide expanded motorcoach sales and service to their respective customers.

The partnership allows Tom Johnson Camping Center, based in North Carolina, to assist their customers in the purchase of new and used Newell motorcoaches, and to also provide warranty and other services to Newell motorhome owners.

“A number of our customers are interested in the type of large, ultra-luxury, innovative motorhome Newell manufactures,” said Tom Johnson, president of Tom Johnson Camping Center.

“The Tom Johnson organization’s commitment to customer satisfaction will be a valuable asset to existing and prospective Newell coach owners, especially those in the Eastern U.S, and those near Marion and Charlotte, North Carolina, where the two Tom Johnson Camping Centers are located,” said Newell Coach President Karl Blade. “The partnership will also offer Newell’s autoracing customers expanded levels of service.”

4. Pipeline Proposal a Boon for RV Parks

More than 1,000 jobs would come with the construction of a new pipeline in Oklahoma, KTLU reports.

TransCanada was turned down last month by the President when it comes to the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, but the company is going ahead with one leg of the pipeline. The company does not need presidential approval for the stretch between Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast.

In the oil industry, you move where the work is.

“We are supposed to be the pipeline capital of the world where all of the pipelines cross,” says Cushing City Manager Steve Spears.

With this new pipeline project expected to finish sometime in 2013, the community and state will see jobs come in.

“Somewhere between 1,200 to 1,500 jobs in the Oklahoma market,” says Spears, who says that includes welders, inspectors, land men and safety inspectors.

5. How to Locate a Dump Station?

RV owners periodically find themselves needing to locate an RV dump station.

This may be a result of dry camping with no sewer service or dump station available, spending the night at Wal-Mart or a truck stop or the weekend at a public recreation area without dumping facilities, or trying to get on the road quickly without taking the time to use the campground dump station.

Also affected are RVers that work on the road, tailgate at college and pro games, NASCAR races, agricultural fairs and exhibitions, dog shows, and other local and national events.

Finding an RV dump station along your route, near your destination, or in your home town can be a major challenge.

To continue reading, click here.

Have a great weekend.

Until next time, safe RV travels, and we’ll see you on the road!

Worth Pondering…

Destination is merely a byproduct of the journey.
—Eric Hansen

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