Report outlines impact of national parks in Va

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A report from the U.S. Department of the Interior says fewer people visited Virginia’s national park sites last year and spent less money during those visits.

According to the report, visits to Virginia sites yielded nearly $871 million in economic benefits with 22 million-plus visits in 2013. That’s down from the $926 million spent in 2012 with nearly 23.4 million visits.

The report outlines the number of visits and the economic impact at the country’s more than 400 sites in the national park system.

Overall, the national park system received 273.6 million recreation visits in 2013 and park visitors spent $14.6 billion in local communities. Lodging accounts for about one-third of that spending.

Nationally, that spending supported nearly 240,000 jobs last year. Spending in Virginia supported more than 12,350 jobs.

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