Buffalo National River has Record Economic Output in 2022

Buffalo National River Contributes to Record Economic Output of the National Park Service

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North Central, Arkansas – The National Park Service report, 2022 National Park Visitor Spending Effects, found that Buffalo National River contributed over $78.4 million in economic output in 2022.

The Buffalo National River is a 153-mile (246 km) river located in the Ozark Mountains of northern Arkansas. It was the first National River to be designated in the United States in 1972. The lower 135 miles of the river flow within the boundaries of an area managed by the National Park Service.

The river is known for its clear waters, scenic bluffs, and abundant wildlife. It is a popular destination for whitewater rafting, kayaking, fishing, camping, and hiking.

The Buffalo National River is also home to a variety of historical and cultural sites, including Native American rock art, and early pioneer settlements.

The annual peer-reviewed report shows that the 1.3 million visitors to Buffalo National River in 2022 contributed over $64.9 million in spending to local gateway regions. This supported 864 jobs with a total economic output of $78.4 million. This is down from previous years mainly due to lower water levels throughout the busiest season. Acting Superintendent, Jessie Morris speculated that the decrease in 2022 could be due to lower water levels overall. He also noted that the numbers in 2021 reflect a surge in visitation to the Buffalo National River during the COVID-19 pandemic and that the numbers for 2022 show an increase over 2020.

It is concerning that there is a widening gap between the jobs numbers and the economic impact. This is a reflection on the current job market post-COVID-19.

See also  Ouachita National Forest Responding to Forest Health Risk
Economic Impact and Jobs History of the Buffalo National River - 2015 - 2022 (as reported by NPS)
Economic Impact and Jobs History of the Buffalo National River – 2015 – 2022 (as reported by NPS)

“We are proud that Buffalo National River spurs such positive economic benefits for our local communities.” said acting Superintendent Jesse Morris. “We will continue to work diligently, with the help of our park partners and community leaders, to ensure this amazing resource is managed for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.”

Across the country, National Park Service sites contributed $23.9 billion in spending, supported 378,400 jobs, and had a total economic output of $50.3 billion, a new record for the National Park Service.

The Community Bicyclist

An interactive tool is available to look at the results of the 2022 National Park Visitor Spending Effects report here: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm

To learn more about how NPS-managed lands and programs provide economic benefits, visit: https://home.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/economics.htm

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One Response

  1. It would be interesting to understand who & where that remarkable amount of money is going, because communities like Marshall, St Joe, and others in proximity to the river are not flourishing, not exhibiting a benefit from that outflow. The creation of the National river & its subsequent regulation has ensured Newton & Searcy counties continue to be among the poorest, least developed areas of the state.

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