By Paula Ogden-Muse for The Island Eye News
A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 950,700 visitors to Fort Sumter National Monument and Charles Pinckney National Historic Site in 2017 spent $54,400,000 in communities near the park. That spending supported 768 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $67,700,000.
“The Charleston area National Park sites are national treasures that provide tangible links to the history, culture, and resources important to the development of both South Carolina and the United States,” said Superintendent Tracy Stakely. “We help visitors from across the nation and around the world gain an appreciation and understanding of the sites’ significance. As an added benefit, visitors also make major contributions to the national and local economy through their travel to the Lowcountry, with National Park tourism returning more than $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service. We are honored to partner with our neighbors, local communities, and tourism professionals to preserve and interpret our local resources while helping to sustain local communities.”
Located in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, and Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, the Charleston area National Park sites are: Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie, Liberty Square Visitor Education Center, and Charles Pinckney National Historic Site. Combined, these sites protect and preserve some of the most iconic sites in American history – from the Colonial era through World War II.
This information comes from a peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $18.2 billion of direct spending by 330 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of the 417 National Park Service units. This spending supported 306,000 jobs nationally; 255,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $ 35.8 billion.
According to the 2017 report, most Fort Sumter National Monument and Charles Pinckney National Historic Site spending was for lodging (31.3 percent), followed by restaurants (22.7 percent), gas (13.3 percent), retail (12.0 percent), costs for recreational activities (8.9 percent), groceries (5.4 percent), transportation (3.4 percent), and camping (3.0 percent).
Report authors also produced an interactive tool that enables users to explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies.
Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: nps. gov/subjects/socialscience/vse. htm.
To learn more about national parks in South Carolina and how the National Park Service works with South Carolina communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to nps.gov/SC.