The Buffalo National RIver

The Economic Benefits of the Buffalo National River

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A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1,463,304 visitors to Buffalo National River in 2015 spent $62,243,200 in communities near the park. That spending supported 969 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $72,009,000.

The Buffalo National RIver
The Buffalo National River (Fondriest/NPS photo)

“Buffalo National River welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Kevin Cheri. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides. We also feature the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service.  The report shows $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally; 252,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion.

According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent).

In 2015, park visitors spent an estimated $62.2 Million in local gateway regions while visiting Buffalo National River. These expenditures supported a total of 969 jobs, $24.5 Million in labor income, $40.2 Million in value added, and $72 Million in economic output in local gateway economies surrounding Buffalo National River.

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The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

To learn more about national parks in Arkansas and how the National Park Service works with Arkansas communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to

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One Response

  1. The Buffalo River is endangered by the infiltration of untreated liquid sewage being land-applied within the watershed. People who value this wonderful shared resource that belongs to every American need to question why a factory hog farm was given a permit to operate in this sensitive and delicate ecosystem. If you love the river and hope to see it available for your children and grandchildren to enjoy, please get involved in defending it. Increasingly we are going to see corporations looking to our resources for their gain and we need regulations that will protect our Natural State!

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