Economic Impacts


Economic impacts: jobs, property values

Highline Trail Glacier NP © Michael Weatherford Arkansas Native Plant Society

As a result of these ecosystem services, natural areas that support healthy native plant communities have measurable positive effects on local and national jobs and employment, even on local property values. For example, according to the National Park Service:

  • In 2016, 331 million people visited U.S. national parks. These visitors spent an estimated $18.4 billion in local gateway communities, supported 318,100 jobs, and added $34.9 billion in economic output in the national economy.
  • Every tax dollar that is invested in the National Parks Service yields a $10 return on investment.
  • Consumers spend $887 billion annually on outdoor recreation, creating 7.6 million jobs.
  • In rural counties with 100,000 acres of protected public lands (relative to those with none), income per person is on average higher by $4,360

Examples and additional information

Impacts of U.S. National Parks on national and state economies. Excellent Interactive Graphical Display

Parks and other conserved natural areas also measurably increase property values in their vicinity.

Public Lands and Natural Areas Spur Local Economies Joint Economic Committee, US Senate, 2017

Do Parks Push People Out? 2018 Article on “Green Gentrification” in Bay Nature magazine “Parks improve health and fight climate change. But not all parks affect a community in the same way—and the question is: “Who’s it for?”