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The Economic Impact of Local Parks

Key Message

America’s local and regional public park agencies generated nearly $140 billion in economic activity and supported almost 1 million jobs from their operations and capital spending alone in 2013. 


National Recreation and Park Association. (2015). The Economic Impact of Local Parks: An Examination of the Economic Impacts of Operations and Capital Spending on the United States Economy. NRPA: Ashburn, VA. 24 pp.


This report summarizes the research findings of the Center for Regional Analysis on the economic impact of local and regional public park systems’ spending in the United States. This research, commissioned by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), adds to the growing body of evidence that the benefits of parks extend well beyond their role as a public amenity and an enhancement to quality of life in their communities.


Local and regional public park agencies directly provided more than 356,000 jobs in the United States during 2013, equating to nearly $32.3 billion in operations spending.

Operations spending by park agencies generated nearly $80.0 billion in total economic activity, boosted the gross domestic product (GDP) by $38.8 billion and supported nearly 660,000 jobs that paid in excess of $24 billion in salaries, wages and benefits.

Local and regional park systems spent an estimated $22.4 billion on capital programs, leading to about $59.7 billion in economic activity, a contribution of $29.2 billion to the GDP, $19.6 billion in labor income and more than 340,000 jobs.

In total, the nation’s local and regional public park agencies spent nearly $54.7 billion in 2013, leading to $139.6 billion in economic activity, just under $68.0 billion in contributions to the GDP, and nearly 1 million jobs that generated labor income of $43.8 billion in 2013.

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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