The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a tourist mecca. In fact, it is the most visited national park in the country. A recent National Park Service (NPS) report states that tourism brought $741 million to communities surrounding the Park in 2012.
Smokies acting superintendent Pedro Ramos commented, “Great Smoky Mountains National Park 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 for visitors.”
The report was prepared by Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber, both of the U.S. Geological Survey, and Lynne Koontz, of the National Park Service.
To see the effect the Park has on surrounding communities, one simply has to look at the government shutdown period of Oct. 1-16, 2013.
According to the report, the Park averages 1,176,720 visits during October. In October 2013, it only had 847,616 which resulted in spending going from an average of $91.4 million to $65.8 million.
To download the report, visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm
– One Feather staff report