DOVER, TN: A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 247,734 visitors to Fort Donelson National Battlefield in 2013 spent $15,037,000 in communities near the park. That spending supported 199 jobs in the local area.
“Fort Donelson National Battlefield is proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world. We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides and to use the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers. 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.” — Superintendent Brian McCutchen
“We are pleased to learn of the far-reaching benefit that our national park has on the regional area. This new study takes into account various visitor-related spending for the surrounding area – reaching well outside that of Dover and Stewart County. Such communities benefiting from Fort Donelson visitation include the cities of Clarksville, Paris, Murray, Hopkinsville, and other communities within the study radius,” McCutchen added.
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service. The report shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported more than 237,000 jobs nationally, with more than 197,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.5 billion.
According to the 2013 economic analysis, most visitor spending was for lodging (30.3 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.3 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), admissions and fees
(10.3 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (10 percent).
The largest jobs categories supported by visitor spending were restaurants and bars (50,000 jobs) and lodging (38,000 jobs).