New York History Blog reports that a new economic impact study found that the New York State Park System and its visitors generated spending of about $5 billion, which supported nearly 54,000 jobs within the state of New York and over $2.8 billion in state GDP, is a boom for locations from Harlem to the Hudson.
The study, by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, was commissioned by the park advocacy group Parks & Trails New York.
The study, Economic Benefits of the New York State Park System, found that from April 2015 to March 2016, the 67 million visits to the New York State park system resulted in about $4 billion in spending by local and non-local visitors. This includes day trips and overnight trips, with visitors spending money on park entrance and use fees, sporting equipment, food and drink, transportation, lodging, and other expenses. Visitor spending has a multiplier effect, as jobs and revenues are created in supporting industries throughout the local economy. The total economic significance of the $4 billion in visitor spending is about 45,000 jobs and $2.4 billion additional state GDP according to the authors of the study.
In addition, state government funding and spending by partner organizations for park system operations and capital improvements was totaled at $543 million. The study authors estimated about 9,000 jobs were supported and $485 million added to the state GDP.
Combining the effects of both visitor spending and state funding, the park system supported about 54,000 jobs and $5 billion in revenues. Each dollar of state funding supported 9 dollars of sales throughout New York State the report concluded.
The report also noted that the parks system offers benefits not directly reflected in its economic impact, including potentially increasing property values for properties near parkland; increasing tax receipts; reducing pollution; mitigating the impacts of climate change; promoting health and wellness; and fostering a sense of community.
Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) is the State’s leading advocate for parks and trails, dedicated since 1985 to improving New Yorkers’ health, economy, and quality of life through the use and enjoyment of green space. For more information, click here.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call (518) 474-0456 or click here.
Photo credit Harlem Meer by Sharon Cuff.