Economic benefits of parks

Study confirms state parks provide significant economic and ecosystem benefits

A study initiated by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission has confirmed that state parks remain a significant economic driver in Washington, with a total estimated contribution of $1.4 billion a year.

According to the study, “Economic Analysis of Outdoor Recreation at Washington State Parks,” by Earth Economics of Tacoma, travel and consumer spending associated with state park visits generated an estimated $64 million in tax receipts to the state’s General Fund during the 2013-15 study period. During the study period, the park system generated six times the tax receipts State Parks was allocated in its budget to operate the system.

The research was commissioned to examine the economic effects of state park visits and related expenditures, following a study of the broad recreation sector published early in 2015.

The purpose of the Commission-ordered study was to better understand the economic activity associated specifically with the state park system. The study confirms that state parks provide economic benefits to rural areas and also contribute to tourism, ecosystems and quality of life. In addition, the annual contribution of the state park system includes:

  • $1.5 billion in consumer expenditures for travel and outdoor equipment
  • 14,000 jobs created or retained
  • $212 million in federal, state and local tax revenues generated

For more information on the study, please select a link from below:

Economic Analysis executive summary (PDF)
Full report: Economic Analysis of Outdoor Recreation at Washington State Parks (PDF)
Fact Sheet: Study concludes state parks benefit economy and ecosystems (PDF)