A new National Park Service report shows that visitors to national park areas in southern West Virginia spent $51 million in nearby communities in 2013.
The report says a little more than 1,243,000 people from around the world visited the New River Gorge National River, the Bluestone National Scenic River, and the Gauley River National Recreation Area in 2013.
In a release today NPS Superintendent Trish Kicklighter said that in addition to providing visitors remarkable experiences in America's outdoors, National Park Tourism is a significant driver in the national economy.
She said for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, $10 is returned to the local economy.
The visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists. It shows 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 reports says the spending supported 673 jobs in southern West Virginia, mostly at restaurants, bars, and lodging facilities.