New Study Finds State Park System Is Robust Economic Engine

A new economic study commissioned by PTNY finds that the NYS Park System supports $5 billion in sales, 54,000 jobs, and more than $2.8 billion in additional state GDP. Each dollar of state funding supports $9 of sales throughout the state.

The study was conducted by the independent Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts.

The study, Economic Benefits of the New York State Park System, found that from April 2015 to March 2016, the 67 million visits to the New York State park system resulted in about $4 billion in spending by local and non-local visitors. This includes day trips and overnight trips, with visitors spending money on park entrance and use fees, sporting equipment, food and drink, transportation, lodging, and other expenses. Visitor spending has a multiplier effect, as jobs and revenues are created in supporting industries throughout the local economy. The total economic significance of the $4 billion in visitor spending is about 45,000 jobs and $2.4 billion additional state GDP.


In addition, state government funding and spending by partner organizations for park system operations and capital improvements totaled $543 million. This funding also has a multiplier effect and supported about 9,000 jobs and led to $485 million in additional state GDP.

Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Robin Dropkin said, “How much poorer New York would be without its park system – not just in mind and spirit, but in pocketbook. This report underscores how much of an economic impact parks have, with each dollar the state spends on parks leading to about 9 dollars in overall sales. Any way you look at it, parks are a great investment!”

The report also noted that the parks system offers numerous other benefits not directly reflected in its economic impact, including potentially increasing property values for properties near parkland; increasing tax receipts; reducing pollution; mitigating the impacts of climate change; promoting health and wellness; and fostering a sense of community.

Visitation to New York State parks and historic sites has increased 21 percent since 2011, when Governor Cuomo initiated NY Parks 2020, a multi-year plan to leverage $900 million in private and public funding for State Park capital improvement.