$103 million spent by Olympic National Park visitors in 2010, study says

By Tom Callis
Peninsula Daily News

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — Visitors to Olympic National Park contributed $103 million to the economy of the Olympic Peninsula in 2010, according to the National Park Service.

The Park Service came up with the figure through a study that estimates how much visitors spend in local economies while visiting national parks, monuments and other public lands managed by the federal agency.

About 2,844,500 people visited the park in 2010, the Park Service said.

The study, which looks at both number of park visits and results of park visitor surveys, estimated that visitors spent on average of $36.21 each per trip within 60 miles of the park.

Park user fees were excluded.

The park announced the study’s findings Tuesday.

View the study here: http://tinyurl.com/parkstudy

“Our neighbors in our local communities understand the economic benefits of national parks,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Karen Gustin in a statement.

“Olympic National Park is one of the drivers of the area economy when park visitors stay in hotels, dine in restaurants and purchase items from our local stores,” she added.

Of the 356 sites run by the Park Service, Olympic National Park ranked 30th for money contributed to nearby communities.

But the study may have underestimated its economic impact.

It relied on the park’s 2010 visitor counts, which had incomplete data for December and June.

In December 2010, traffic counters on U.S. Highway 101 at East Beach Road near Lake Crescent, Ruby Beach and Queets were out of service.

The Kalaloch counter was reportedly down in June 2010.

Of the $103 million the study said was spent, about $94.6 million came from “non-locals.”

The majority of visitor spending, 52 percent, was on lodging and food. Twenty-nine percent of spending was on retail, 10 percent on entertainment, 7 percent on gas and transportation, and 2 percent on groceries, according to the park.

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Reporter Tom Callis can be reached at 360-417-3532 or at tom.callis@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 29. 2012 6:27PM
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