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NPS: Joshua Tree Visitors Boost Local Economy with $209M Contribution Last Year


Sep 3, 2023

Joshua Tree National Park in California had approximately 3.1 million visitors last year, resulting in significant economic benefits for nearby communities. The National Park Service revealed that these visitors spent tens of millions of dollars, ultimately supporting over 2,000 jobs. An economic analysis conducted by NPS economists estimated that Joshua Tree contributed $171 million in local spending and supported 2,040 jobs. Altogether, this resulted in a total economic benefit of $209 million for communities located within a 60-mile radius of the park.

The survey conducted by the National Park Service showed that the majority of visitor spending in areas surrounding Joshua Tree was allocated to hotels, amounting to $62.2 million. Restaurants followed at $32 million, gas at $29 million, groceries at $12 million, transportation at $11 million, recreation at $11 million, and retail shopping at $10 million. Additionally, camping in Joshua Tree accounted for $2 million in visitor spending in 2022.

Joshua Tree National Park was officially recognized for its national significance 87 years ago. Conservationist Minerva Hoyt, in collaboration with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, signed a proclamation on August 10, 1936, to protect the desert landscapes of Joshua Tree for future generations. Initially established as a National Monument, it became a National Park in 1994. The park boasts two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado, and is home to a diverse range of plants and animals that have adapted to the harsh weather conditions.

In 2023, the park experienced extreme congestion during the Perseid meteor shower, with reports of bumper-to-bumper traffic, vehicles stuck in the sand, illegal camping, campfires, and litter. Despite the challenges faced during peak visitation periods, the inflow of visitors is expected to have positive future economic impacts.

Nationally, NPS economists discovered that 312 million visitors to national parks spent nearly $24 billion in nearby communities. This spending supported over 378,000 jobs, resulting in a total impact of $50.3 billion. Among the various sectors, the lodging industry benefited the most, with $9 billion in spending, followed by restaurants at $4.6 billion. In California alone, national parks generated $2.7 billion in visitor spending, with Golden Gate National Recreation Area contributing $1.1 billion.

For a detailed breakdown of the economic impact of national parks, including Joshua Tree, one can refer to the National Park Service website.

By Editor

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