A joint study by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation and the economics department at Boise State finds Idaho’s state parks are a big source of income for the Gem State.
Five and a half million people visited an Idaho state park in 2016 and pumped $184 million into the state’s economy. The 30 parks in the system comprise some 60,000 acres of the Gem State.
The study by the parks department and Boise State is the first of its kind evaluating the economic impact of the park system. Close to 10,000 visitors participated in the survey.
While taxpayer money makes up less than 10 percent of the department’s annual budget, the study finds every tax dollar invested in the parks department brings a return of $54.
Idaho’s state parks provide boosts to rural economies where some of the most spectacular natural features are located. The study finds spending by visitors generated over 3,000 jobs in nearby towns and contributed $89 million in wages, benefits and salaries.
When income generated by boating, snowmobiling and other recreational pursuits are added to what the state parks bring in, more than a billion dollars is annually injected into Idaho’s economy.
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