YELLOWSTONE – A new National Park Service report shows that more than 3.5 million visitors to Yellowstone National Park in 2014 spent $421 million in nearby communities. That spending supported 6,662 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $543.7 million.

“Yellowstone National Park welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said acting Superintendent Steve Iobst. “National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service.”

The peer-reviewed, visitor-spending analysis was conducted in 2014 by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber, and NPS economist Lynne Koontz.

The report shows $15.7 billion of direct spending by 292.8 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 277,000 jobs nationally, with 235,600 of them found in the park’s gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $29.7 billion.

According to the report, most park-visitor spending was for lodging (30.6 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.3 percent), gas and oil (11.9 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.9 percent).

“It’s a big factor in our local economy as well,” Iobst said. “We appreciate the partnership and support of our gateway communities, regional tourism organizations and the states of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana, and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

View the full report.