National parks contributed over $1 billion to Utah economy in 2018

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's national parks contributed over $1 billion to the state's economy in 2018, according to the National Park Service's visitor spending effects report.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, home of Lake Powell, saw the state's highest total with $411 million in visitor spending coming from 4.2 million visitors.

Zion National Park led the state with 4.3 million visitors for the year who spent $246 million.

Over 86,000 people are expected to visit the park over Memorial Day weekend.

Bryce Canyon National Park came in third with $227 million coming from 2.7 million visitors.

Arches National Park saw 1.7 million visitors spend $200 million while nearby Canyonlands National Park had $45.8 million come in through 739,000 visitors.

Capitol Reef National Park had 1.2 million visitors spend $89.2 million.

Overall, Utah's "Mighty 5" added $808 million to the state's economy.

Utah came in fifth nationally for visitor spending behind California ($2.7 billion), Alaska ($1.4 billion), Arizona ($1.3 billion) and North Carolina ($1.3 billion).

The National Park Service said parks and other sites pumped $20.2 billion dollars into the U.S. economy in 2018.

Almost 35% of Utah's $1.2 billion was spent on hotels and 19% was spent on restaurants.

Gas and transportation made up another 19% while retail was less than 10% of total visitor spending.

Year by year, the National Park Service said spending has gone up in Utah and has almost doubled from the $614 million visitors spent in Utah in 2012.

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