Jobs Interactive: Potential in Restoring Our National Parks

Jobs Interactive: Potential in Restoring Our National Parks

Our national parks are American treasures. They not only preserve significant historical sites and natural resources, but they also are economic engines for local communities and states. In 2016, the centennial of the National Park Service (NPS) drew record crowds: 331 million visits. These visitors spent more than $18 billion in communities adjacent to parks, which in turn supported 318,150 jobs and nearly $35 billion in national economic output.  But many of our irreplaceable parks need repairs. As the NPS begins its second century, it is grappling with $11.3 billion in deferred maintenance at the more than 400 sites it manages. Roads are crumbling, trails are blocked, buildings are deteriorating, and water and sewer pipes are leaking. Years of inconsistent congressional funding have made it difficult for NPS to make all of the needed repairs, which means the agency has had to postpone less critical maintenance.

Paying down the repair backlog will help ensure that America’s parks continue to protect the nation’s history, expand recreational opportunities, and support local economies, including creating infrastructure-related jobs. A 2017 study—"Restoring Parks, Creating Jobs: How Infrastructure Restoration in the National Park System Can Create or Support Jobs," commissioned by The Pew Charitable Trusts and conducted by the independent firm Cadmus Group—found that more than 110,000 jobs could be created or supported if funds were invested to resolve the NPS maintenance backlog. This interactive map shows where those positions could be located and includes data on park visitation and visitor spending. 

Values for the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands are not shown in this map.

Territory Potential jobs Current jobs supported by visitor spending Visits Visitor spending (millions) Economic output (millions)
American Samoa 8 21 28,893 $2 $2
Guam 62 356 488,987 $29 $35
Puerto Rico 180 1,065 1,456,552 $85 $104
Virgin Islands 239 903 582,167 $70 $93

Notes:

Delaware and the Northern Mariana Islands do not include any National Park System units that collect visitor spending data.

All $ figures are in millions

Source:

Cadmus Group analysis of National Park Service data from fiscal 2016; National Park Service, “2016 National Park Visitor Spending Effects” (2017), https://www.nps.gov/nature/customcf/NPS_Data_Visualization/docs/2016_VSE.pdf.

For more information on this analysis, please see the methodology or view  Cadmus Group’s report, “Restoring Parks, Creating Jobs: Infrastructure Restoration in the National Park System Can Create Jobs” (2017), http://insights.cadmusgroup.com/restoring-parks-creating-jobs

Assateague Island maintenance
Assateague Island maintenance
Data Visualization

National Park Deferred Maintenance Needs

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Data Visualization

National Park Deferred Maintenance Needs

With record crowds contributing to wear and tear and federal funding unreliable, the National Park Service is struggling to keep pace with repairs, estimated at $11.6 billion in fiscal year 2017. Use this tool, based on NPS data, to learn more about deferred maintenance at NPS sites across the county, in your state, and at your favorite park.

Yellowstone landscape
Yellowstone landscape
Fact Sheet

National Park Case Studies

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Fact Sheet

The National Park Service needs almost $12 billion to eliminate its backlog of deferred maintenance. The Pew Charitable Trusts' campaign to restore America's parks has created a series of case studies highlighting examples of repairs needed at our nation's treasures.

Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park
Article

Calls Mount for Congress to Fix Our Parks

To address its multibillion-dollar maintenance backlog, the National Park Service needs lawmakers’ help

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Article

The National Park Service serves a critical role as caretaker to an array of park sites that document our nation’s history and heritage and showcase America’s natural splendor. But many of these places are crumbling, eroding, and outdated, affecting visitors’ access and safety. The NPS’ nationwide backlog of repairs was estimated at $11.6 billion as of fiscal year 2017.   

Trail closed
Trail closed
Video

Let’s Restore America’s National Parks

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Video

America’s national parks are more popular than ever, but they’re facing serious challenges. Aging infrastructure and decades of underfunding have resulted in a backlog of maintenance repairs that is estimated at nearly $11.3 billion.