Ashton Marra Published

National Park Visitors Spent $53 Million in Southern W.Va. in 2014

Its 1,700-foot arch made it the longest single-span arch bridge in the world.

A report from the National Park Service says three parks in southern West Virginia brought tens of millions of dollars into the surrounding communities, supporting hundreds of jobs.

The National Park Service says the New River Gorge National River, Bluestone National Scenic River and Gauley River National Recreation Area brought 1,280,604 visitors into southern West Virginia last year.

Those visitors spent $53,448,900 in communities near the parks which supported 808 local jobs. NPS quantifies the cumulative local benefit from the three parks to be $60,572,100.

The peer-reviewed spending analysis was conducted by NPS in conjunction with the U.S. Geological Survey. It says visitors spent the most dollars locally on lodging, food and gasoline.

Nationally, 292.8 million people visited national parks last year spending $15.7 billion in communities within 60 miles of those parks. That spending also supported 277,000 jobs across the country.