Report: National parks add $20M to LI economy

Sagamore Hill was the home of President Theodore Sagamore Hill was the home of President Theodore Roosevelt from 1885 until his death in 1919. Called the Summer White House during Roosevelt's presidency, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Dec. 3, 2011) Photo Credit: Carl Corry, 2011

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Visitors to Long Island's two National Park Service sites contribute more than $20 million annually to the local economy, according to a new study prepared for the agency.

The report determined that the 483,334 visitors to Fire Island National Seashore in 2012 spent more than $19 million in communities near the park and supported 206 local jobs.

And at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site in Cove Neck, 14,639 visitors in 2012 spent $787,700 in nearby communities, supporting nine jobs.

The Sagamore Hill attendance in 2012 was affected by the closing of Theodore Roosevelt's mansion for a major restoration project, which began in December 2011 and is scheduled to be completed next year.

The visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists. It shows $14.7 billion of direct spending nationally by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 243,000 jobs across the country, with 201,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.75 billion. Thirty-nine percent of the jobs are in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, 27 percent in lodging facilities and the rest in entertainment and recreation.

"Fire Island National Seashore welcomes visitors from the greater New York metropolitan area as well as from across the country and around the world," Superintendent Christopher Soller said.

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What they add to local economies is significant, he said. "The figures reported in this study only account for visitors to National Park Service facilities on Fire Island," he said. "Within the boundary of the seashore are 17 residential communities as well as other public sites such as Smith Point County Park."

Like the national seashore, "Sagamore Hill is proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world," Superintendent Kelly Fuhrmann said. "National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy -- returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service -- and it's a big factor in our local economy as well."

"We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities," he said.

To see the full report, go to http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm

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