A safer way to help economies: visit national parks
The United States Secretary of the Interior, David L. Bernhardt, has announced the annual economic benefit of national parks to the US and local economies. In 2019 alone, $21.0 billion was spent by 328 million park visitors, which supported a total of 341,000 jobs, $14.1 billion in labor income, $24.3 billion in value-added, and $41.7 billion in economic output in the national economy. From 2018 to 2019 there was a visitor spending increase of $800 million, which in turn affected the US economy that grew by $1.6 billion.
Secretary Bernhardt had this to say about reopening national parks: “We have been working to safely welcome the public back to their national parks and provide more service again”. He went on to say: “these treasured places provide respite and recreation for the American people, in addition to vital economic support to gateway communities across the country. The tremendous value of our national parks is undeniable as is the need to adequately maintain them, which is why President Trump has called on Congress to address the decades of deferred maintenance”.
National Park Service Deputy Director, David Vela, exercising the authority of the director, stressed the importance of reopening the national parks in a safe manner. He said, “safely increasing access to national parks and other public lands support individual and collective physical and mental wellness”. And that “it also benefits park gateway communities where millions of visitors each year find a place to sleep and eat, hire outfitters and guides and make use of other local services that help drive a vibrant tourism and outdoor recreation industry”.
In terms of national parks in US territories, there are a handful. A compiled detail list can be found from National Park Traveling, but here are a few: In Guam, there is the “War in the Pacific National Historical Park, in Puerto Rico, there is the “San Juan National Historic Site, and in American Samoa, there is the ‘National Park of American Samoa in Pago Pago’. By visiting these national parks, you will not only be able to enjoy the staggering outdoors while maintaining social distancing but also ensure revenue and jobs for those who rely on tourists visiting national parks.