Hallowed Ground national parks generate $270M in tourism

Civil War buffs frequently visit the Manassas National Battlefield. The Henry Hill Monument, built by Union soldiers to commemorate the First Bull Run battle, is seen here. (AP)

WASHINGTON – Thirteen national parks within “The Journey Through Hallowed Ground” national heritage area — from Gettysburg, Pa. to Monticello, Va. — generate $270 million each year in spending from tourists, according to a Michigan State University study.

The parks support 4,032 local jobs and attract nine million visitors annually, the study finds.

The study looked at data from 2011 to analyze the economic benefits of national parks on local communities. It was released this year to coincide with National Parks Week, which runs April 20 to April 28.

The hallowed ground area is 180 miles long and 75 miles wide. It includes 49 historic districts, nine presidential homes and eight Civil War battlefields.

Shuan Butcher, spokesman for The Journey Through Hallowed Ground, says more people have visited the region in the past two years.

“Part of it, of course, is the Civil War sesquicentennial that’s taking place. And, of course, the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg that’s coming up this summer,” Butcher says.

“Most of these folks require overnight lodging.They might spend money on meals, gasoline and often purchase souvenirs when visiting our national parks.”

The National Parks within the hallowed ground area include the following:

  • Antietam National Battlefield
  • Appalachian National Scenic Trail
  • Appomattox Court House National Historic Park
  • Catoctin Mountain Park
  • Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park
  • Eisenhower National Historic Site
  • Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park
  • Gettysburg National Military Park
  • Harpers Ferry National Historic Park
  • Manassas National Battlefield Park
  • Monocacy National Battlefield
  • Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
  • Shenandoah National Park.

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