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Fort Caroline National Memorial hosts several events, including this Civil War encampment at St. Johns Bluff to commemorate the battles for the bluff and war activities on the St. Johns River. Above is the flag of the 3rd Rhode Island Artillery.

Visitors spent $145M at local national parks

From Staff

A National Park Service report shows that 2,640,577 people visited the four national parks in Northeast Florida during 2013.

Those visitors spent $145 million, which supported more than 2,000 jobs in the communities near the parks.

The four parks are Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve and Fort Caroline National Memorial in Jacksonville and Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and Fort Matanzas National Monument in St. Augustine.

“These four National Parks offer visitors a diversity of experiences and draw visitors from around the world” said Barbara Goodman, superintendent of the Timucuan and Fort Caroline parks, in a news release.

She said national park tourism returns $10 for every $1 invested in the park service.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey for the National Park Service.

The report shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. The spending supported 197,000 jobs nationally, with 201,000 jobs found in the gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.5 billion.

According to the 2013 national economic analysis, most visitor spending was for lodging (30.3 percent). Others included food and beverages (27.3 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.3 percent) and souvenirs.

The largest jobs categories supported by visitor spending were restaurants and bars (50,000 jobs) and lodging (38,000 jobs).

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