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Visitors to Crater Lake, Oregon Caves add $38.5 million to economy

 Posted: 11:20 AM February 27, 2013

The Crater Lake National Park and Oregon Caves National Monument brought in more than $38.5 million in 2011 to communities in the region, according to a study released Tuesday.

The peer-reviewed spending analysis of national park and monument visitors was conducted by Michigan State University for the National Park Service.

Nationally, it found $13 billion in direct spending by 279 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park or monument.

The lion's share of spending included 63 percent supporting jobs in lodging, food and beverage service, followed by 17 percent for recreation and entertainment, 11 percent other retail, 7 percent transportation and fuel, and 2 percent on wholesale and manufacturing.

In Oregon, some 839,000 people in 2011 spent about $56 million in communities surrounding national parks and monuments. The visitor destinations support 947 full-time jobs, the report noted.

In addition to Crater Lake and the Oregon Caves, the sites in Oregon include the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks.

Crater Lake drew 423,551 visitors that year, spending a total $34.7 million in communities surrounding the park and supporting 565 jobs, the report says.

The Oregon Caves attracted 76,194 visitors who spent $3.8 million in local communities, it concluded. That spending supported 59 jobs in the local area, the study said.

"The national parks in Oregon are great places to learn about America's story," Chris Lehnertz, regional director of the National Park Service, said in a prepared statement.

"We attract visitors from across the U.S. and around the world who come here to experience these parks and then spend time and money enjoying the services provided by our neighboring communities and getting to know all that this state has to offer," he added.

For more information about national park facilities in Oregon, check out

— Paul Fattig

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