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Report: National park visitors spent nearly $11 million in Iowa

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(The Center Square) – Visitors to Iowa national parks spent $10.9 million in 2022, contributing $14.6 million to the state’s economic output, according to a report from the National Park Service.

The two national parks in Iowa, Effigy Mounds and Herbert Hoover, received 160,226 visits last year. The $10.9 million spent by those visitors supported 160 full and part-time jobs, contributing $4.7 million to labor income, the report said.

The state’s gross domestic product received a boost of $7.8 million in value-added because of national park visitor spending, according to the National Park Service.

Effigy Mounds had 56,422 visitors in 2022. Those visitors spent over $4 million in the region, supporting over 60 jobs and contributing $1.6 million in labor income, according to the report.

It meant over $2.7 million in value added to the regional economy’s GDP and $5.2 million in economic output, which measures the total estimated value of the production of goods and services supported by visitor spending.

Herbert Hoover had 103,804 visitors last year, which spent $6.8 million. That visitor spending supported over 100 jobs and generated just under $3 million in labor income, according to the report.

The NPS said about $4.8 million was added to the regional economy’s GDP, supporting $9.1 million in economic output. More than 95% of the visitor spending at both parks was from non-local visitors.

Across the U.S., recreation visits to national parks were up 5% compared to 2021, generating an estimated $23.9 billion in visitor spending in local gateway regions – a 16% increase, the report said. The lodging sector benefited the most, with restaurants coming in second.

“This increase was largely due to service-wide visitation essentially recovering to pre-pandemic levels,” the report said. “A few dozen parks continued to operate under limited capacities or indoor space restrictions due to COVID-19 precautions, particularly in the first few months of 2022. While not as high as 2018 and 2019 (318 million and 327 million recreation visits, respectively), service-wide visitation has essentially stabilized to pre-pandemic levels.”

Visits to the National Park System supported 378,400 jobs across America and supported $17.5 billion in labor income, the report said.

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