Video: National Park tourism in Michigan creates $181.7 million in economic benefit

Author's note: Here's a rather interesting press release that crossed my desk recently. Ironically, I lived in Calumet at the time the NPS created the Keweenaw National Historical Park so I'm, familiar with its attractions. Also, I was born, raised and currently reside, in Monroe County so I'm well aware of the River Raisin National Battlefield Park and what it has to offer. Last summer we had a terrific camping trip to Mackinaw City, where we took a day trip to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Finally, we have been to Sleeping Bear Dunes several times, seemingly always on a hot summer day when the sand burns our feet.

New report shows visitor spending supports 2,819 jobs in Michigan

A picture of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
I took during our vacation last summer.
A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 2,192,477 visitors to national parks in Michigan spent $181.7 million and supported 2,819 jobs in the state in 2012.

“The national parks of Michigan attract visitors from across the country and around the world and provide premiere historical, cultural, natural, and recreational experiences,” said NPS Midwest Regional Director Michael T. Reynolds. “This new report shows that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy - returning $10 for every $1 invested - and funding generated by national parks has a swift and direct positive impact on local economies in Michigan as well.”

The national parks in Michigan are:

  • Isle Royale National Park, Houghton (16,663 total visitors; $3.477 million in visitor spending)
  • Keweenaw National Historical Park, Calumet (no additional info available) 
  • Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Munising (593,587 total visitors; $23.721 million in visitor spending)
  • River Raisin National Battlefield Park, Monroe; (50,667 total visitors; $2.726 million in visitor spending)
  • and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Empire (1.531 million total visitors; $151.782 million in visitor spending).

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service.  The report shows $14.7 billion of direct spending by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 243,000 jobs nationally, with 201,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.75 billion.

According to the report most visitor spending supports jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores (39 percent), hotels, motels and B&Bs (27 percent), and other amusement and recreation (20 percent).

To download the report visit

The report includes information for visitor spending by park and by state.

To learn more about national parks in Michigan and how the National Park Service works with  Michigan communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to