TEXAS - The Texas State Park system’s more than 90 sites generate $774 million in retail sales annually, contributing $351 million in economic benefits and creating 5,800 jobs statewide, according to a Texas A&M University study.
A survey of park visitors and their spending habits was conducted at 30 state parks between March 2014 and June 2014 by a team led by Dr. John Crompton, a distinguished A&M professor in the Recreation, Parks and Tourism Sciences Department.
“The take-away message from this study should be that the state park system is an important contributor to the Texas economy, particularly in rural areas and that the state’s net investment in parks is returned many times over as visitors travel to enjoy the outdoors and leave their dollars behind,” said Dr. Crompton.
Spending by Bastrop State Park visitors added nearly $1.7 million to the Bastrop County economy and led to the creation of 35.6 jobs.
Similarly, in the Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon visitors added more than $3.7 million to the coffers of Armstrong and Randall counties that supported 86 jobs in the local area.
Even remote Big Bend Ranch State Park in far West Texas contributed significant economic benefits to Presidio County by adding $1.9 million in sales and roughly 27 jobs.
The study further revealed that state park spending increased all Texans’ income by $202 million and generated 5,871 jobs paying an average annual salary of $34,000.
Local economic impacts varied by park, depending on the number of visitors and their spending habits. Some of the findings include:
• Balmorhea — $2.3 million in value added; 50.3 jobs
• Cedar Hill — $3.1 million in value added; 41.7 jobs
• Garner — $6.9 million in value added; 16.1 jobs
• McKinney Falls — $883,146 in value added; 16.1 jobs
• Pedernales Falls — $1.7 million in value added; 41.1 jobs
View the entire study here.