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Arizona’s national parks poured $837M into state coffers

PHOENIX — A new National Park Service report shows that the 10,747,223 visitors to national parks in Arizona in 2014 spent $837 million in the state.

That spending supported 13,359 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the state economy of $1.2 billion. The results represent an 8.1 percent increase in spending and 6.4 percent rise in visitation over 2013.

Kevin Dahl with the National Parks Conservation Association says 2015 could be even better.

“The economy is better,” Dahl explained. “Gas prices are down. Some people see four or five parks in one visit which is a great way to spend the family vacation. We have a lot of foreign visitors to our parks, especially the Grand Canyon which is an international draw. They see other sites and stay in places like Sedona for instance.”

This new report says that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 America invests in the National Park Service.

Spending by visitors to Arizona’s 20 national parks ranked fifth among the 50 states.

Visitation was its sixth-highest ever. Arizona’s parks include Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest and Saguaro National Parks; Canyon de Chelly, Casa Grande Ruin, Chiricahua, Hohokam Pima, Montezuma Castle, Navajo, Organ Pipe Cactus, Pipe Spring, Sunset Crater Volcano, Tuzigoot, Tonto, Walnut Canyon and Wupatki National Monuments and Coronado National Memorial.