Photo: Visitors enjoy a sunset horseback ride at Buffalo National River. Photo courtesy Arkansas Parks & Tourism.
The 2018 National Park Service Visitor Spending Effects Report estimates 1.2 million visitors spent $54.9 million in the region while visiting Buffalo National River last year.
The annual report measures the economic impact of National Park Service sites on surrounding communities where park visitors find additional amenities and attractions like shopping, dining and lodging. The annual estimates are calculated using visitor surveys and spending patterns, visitation data and regional economic multipliers.
According to the report, hotels and restaurants were the greatest affected sectors in the area, sharing roughly half of the revenue derived from Buffalo National River visitation. Gas and groceries shared another 30 percent of the total revenue.
Superintendent Mark Foust says, 'The outstanding recreational opportunities available at Buffalo National River are only a part of the experience that visitors are seeking. Getting out into the park, combined with time in nearby communities, is a one-of-a-kind experience. "
Foust says, ''This report shows that park visitors are investing time and money in our communities, which supports local jobs and income.''
At 135 miles long, Buffalo National River flows through Baxter, Marion, Newton and Searcy counties. The park's gateway communities are located in all of these counties, including Boone County.
The 2018 National Park Service Visitor Spending Effects Report can be viewed online at https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm.
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