Grand Canyon, National Parks Have Big Economic Impact

March 03, 2014

Visitors spent $745 million at the Grand Canyon, and Arizona’s other national parks in 2012, according to a federal report released Monday.

National park visitor spending supports more than 11,000 jobs in Arizona. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told reporters an increase in the number of people visiting parks should mean a bigger investment. But she said the federal budget hasn’t kept pace with the costs.

“So you have fewer visitor services, more deferred maintenance on facilities and over time that accumulates. So we now our facing a maintenance backlog of $11 billion,” Jewell said. “That’s $11 billion and that’s not something we’re going to be making up quickly.”

Jewell said many people took notice of the national parks during last fall’s government shutdown. The 16-day closure meant a loss of about $400 million in visitor spending in park communities across the country.