Report: Economic Impacts of Obama Administration / Natural National Monuments
The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes protection of public lands through national monument designation. At the time this report was written, President Obama had designated 17 new national monuments and two monument expansions. This preservation of public lands benefits local economies and small businesses as they attract visitors to these often-rural areas. Monument visitors spend money on entrance fees, lodging, meals, and other retail items from local businesses during their trip—providing an economic boost to local communities. These economic benefits to rural communities are an important component when considering the total value of public land protection.
National monuments strengthen local and regional economies by attracting a substantial number of visitors each year from outside the local region, many of whom spend multiple days in the area spending money at local businesses and contributing to the local economy. Monument-related visitor expenditures are especially important in rural areas where local economies and small businesses may be particularly reliant on income derived from tourism and outdoor recreation.
This study examines the economic impacts associated with visitation to 10 national monuments designated by an Obama Administration executive order. The report found the combined natural and cultural national monuments have a total economic impact of $156 million per year on the local economies surrounding the monuments, including direct and secondary impacts. Economic activity generated by national monument visitation contributes $58 million in labor income per year in the local communities surrounding the national monuments.
Key findings in the study include:
National monument visitation results in approximately $58 million in labor income per year, with the lodging industries produces the most labor income in the local economy ($10.5 million). Other key sectors supported by visitor spending include restaurants ($7.4 million) and gasoline ($8.7 million).
Average expenditures made by non-local visitors whose primary trip purpose was to visit one of the national monuments total $129 million, while local visitors spend about $51 million on primary trips to the national monuments.
Between 2011 and 2015, there were about 3.9 million visits to the Obama-designated natural and cultural national monuments annually. Day use of Obama-designated national monuments by local residents (those who live within 60 miles of the monument) represents 49 percent of visitation, while 20 percent of all visits are by non-local overnight visitors.