Restore a Nation Report Highlights Positive Economic Impact of National Parks

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Mark Wenzler, Director of Clean Air and Climate Programs, National Parks Conservation Association, 202.454.3335

Restore a Nation Report Highlights Positive Economic Impact of National Parks

Recommends funding restoration projects to create American jobs and address climate change

WASHINGTON - National parks are local economic drivers that create jobs and
support families across the United States, according to a new report by
the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the nation's
leading voice for the national parks. The report, Restore a Nation: The Economic Benefits of Restoring the Lands and Waters of our National Parks,
also notes the need for new investments in restoration projects to
sustain these economies, maintain healthy ecosystems, address a
changing climate, and create American jobs.

"By funding restoration projects in national parks, such as
replanting native grasslands and rejuvenating streams and rivers; we as
a nation can restore our national park system and create more American
jobs ," said Mark Wenzler, NPCA director for clean air and climate
programs.

Restoration projects are more important than ever
given that drought, wildfires, and floods are on the increase; coastal
wetlands are declining; and wildlife are under increasing stress as
changing temperatures make their traditional homes unsustainable. This
ecological challenge also threatens to become an economic challenge for
countless communities, since national parks directly support $13.3
billion in private sector activity and maintain 267,000 jobs.

"Healthy
ecosystems in national parks provide communities with clean drinking
water and flood protection, and support revenue-generating businesses
like fishing, tourism, and recreation, especially in rural areas," said
Wenzler.

Among the projects highlighted in the report are those throughout the country that demonstrate economic benefits, including:

  • Restoring coastal wetlands in Connecticut was significantly
    correlated with an average increase in housing values of more than
    $11,000;
  • Planting streamside forests to keep the water cool enough to
    support aquatic life is saving an Oregon utility company $50 million
    over five years;
  • Implementing a comprehensive Great Lakes restoration
    strategy could support nearly $50 billion in economic activity in the
    region;
  • Restoring the Elwha River in Olympic National Park is
    projected to generate 1,200 new jobs in Clallam County, Washington-this
    roughly 3 percent increase is more than the number of jobs lost in the
    county's timber industry between 1987 and 1995; and
  • Implementing Florida's state climate action plan would
    generate 148,000 jobs over 16 years, including nearly 40,000 jobs
    restoring and establishing forests.

The report also includes the findings of a recent study that found
conserving or restoring land instead of using it for industrial
development is correlated with sustained economic growth. It
also highlights that ecosystem restoration projects have shown
impressive economic returns, some approaching 80 percent.

The Restore a Nation report concludes that taking action
now and investing in work that helps lands and animals respond to the
earth's changing climate-work that restores our ecosystems and
essential habitats-will benefit not only wildlife and our national
parks, but American communities.

This week, NPCA has also joined the
Outdoor Industry Association and 75 outdoor businesses in calling on
Congress to protect public lands from climate change impacts and fund
restoration projects to create American jobs. To view information on
the letter to Congress, including the full text, please click here.

To
view the full report, which includes examples from: California, the
Great Lakes, Louisiana, Maine, Connecticut, Washington State, Colorado,
and Arkansas, please visit the NPCA website at www.npca.org/restore.

To download photos and graphics from the report, please click here.

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NPCA is a non-profit, private organization dedicated to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the U.S. National Park System.

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