Recent comments

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 8 hours ago

    Although Grand Canyon National Park officials don't track visitors' nationalities, they say they've noticed a sharp increase in international tourists in the past year or so and estimate that they now make up about 40 percent of all visitors to the massive gorge.

    From a 2008 article (http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0330canyonvisits0330.html). All the evidence on this seems to be anecdotal--and therefore probably no way to resolve the arguments above. But it's interesting to consider--would 40% of visitors to the Grand Canyon have come to America if it didn't exist? Or would they have gone on safari in Kenya, to the rainforests of Central America, the Canadian Rockies, the islands of Greece?

    But I like Kurt's question better.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 8 hours ago

    Kurt nicely said, I also was disappointed in the NPS Director not pointing out the enormous ecological value of the parks, along with the recreational and economic benefits. Agree completely.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 8 hours ago

    I agree, Kurt. The article invites a more interesting conversation about the parks as preserving value that hasn't been capitalized. (And since these places are so uniquely American, it's a nice way to think about American exceptionalism in the context of economic globalization. That's my Rooseveltism speaking.)

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 8 hours ago

    So, it looks like we're now in agreement that 1) there is incremental spending (of course we don't know what defines or how to capture "incremental spending"), and 2) that some people might spend comparable money elsewhere in lieu of a visitation to a national park.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 8 hours ago

    Were the national parks ever intended to be economic engines? Or where they to preserve slices of American grandeur? I think the latter.

    I also think it would be just as, if not more, valuable to point out the role national parks play in filtering air and water, providing habitat for species, helping to keep some species off the Endangered Species List while helping others rebound from being listed.

    There is an impressive aspect to the ecological role that the parks play that should be promoted just as vigorously, if not more so, than the economic component.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 8 hours ago

    No one can fault Jarvis for trying to promote the parks, after all that is part of his job. If his point is to sucure additional funding then I see this as the same argument professional sports teams use to justify asking taxpayers to buy them new sports complexes or business uses to ask for land and subsidies. If in fact every dollar spent returns 10 as Jarvis states or is good for the local economy as is the justification in the other cases, then we should be able to lower taxes shouldn't we? Yet it always results in a tax increase.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 8 hours ago

    Ethelred, the chart on page 5 may interest (but disappont) you:

    http://www.nationalparksonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/OTTI-Inter...

    Of the overseas visitors in 2009, less than 20% visted a National Park and of course that would include things like the National Mall or Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island which would be visted no matter what their status.

    80% didn't visit any National Park and who knows how many of the 20% came primarily for a park rather than going to a park tangentially.

    Did some come because of the Parks. Probably. Was it the overwhelming majority, absolutely not. So your contention, "we'd get very little foreign tourism" is absolutely wrong.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 8 hours ago

    I am probably in the middle on this one. Without the NPS people would recreate elsewhere. But because they are there we need to show that they are an important tourist destination and worth investing tax dollars to keep them up. If growth in tourism happens in anyplace there will be a need to do upkeep and upgrades in roads, services, airports, etc... in my view that is the sum of the report.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 8 hours ago

    Justin, If that quote is supposed to prove that I said there is no incremental spending, you are sorely mistaken.

    I made the point that the report assumes that people wouldn't spend at all. That every dollar in the park is incremental. Which is absurd.

    I elaborated later that "Yes, there may be some incremental demand but to claim the entire spending as incremental is equally absurd" So contrary to your accusation I have never said there was no incremental spending - quite the opposite.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 8 hours ago

    National Parks steer tourism dollars to where the parks are located. Since lots of parks are in rural places where jobs are scarce, they are the main economic engine. NP are the ultimate renewable economic resource.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 8 hours ago

    ethelred "very little foreign tourism"? Do you have anything to substantiate your believe that the vast majority of our foreign tourism is driven by the Parks?

    Would "some of our domestic tourism" go away. Perhaps. Would all of it go away? Not a chance in you know where.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 8 hours ago

    "So lets make this easy. If those parks didn't exist would those people play tourist elsewhere? Yes or No."

    Now you're asking me to make assumptions?

    Okay, I'll play along. If none of our National Parks existed, my assumption is: we'd get very little foreign tourism, much of our domestic tourism would be redirected to places outside the country, some of our domestic tourism would cease altogether, and some of it would take place elsewhere in the US (theme parks, state parks).

    I think it's a safe assumption that without any of our National Parks, tourism within the US would take a very substantial hit.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 9 hours ago

    The most blatant and erroneous of which is that people would not spend the money elsewhere if parks didn't exist.

    Yes, David, people would spend elsewhere.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 9 hours ago

    Gary, I don't disagree with anything you said in your last post. But saying people will stop spending tourist dollars if there are no National Parks is the same as saying people will stop eating if their local grocery store closes.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 9 hours ago

    But to assert that the same level of activity would exist without the national parks is pretty ridiculous.

    And of course nobody has made that assertion. In fact, quite the opposite.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 9 hours ago

    Thanks for righting the ship, Jim. From the opening quote, the thrust of the article is about the economic activity promoted by the parks. Would some of that economic activity exist without the parks? Obviously. Would most of it? Maybe. But to assert that the same level of activity would exist without the national parks is pretty ridiculous.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 9 hours ago

    they are drivers of tourism, which we know because tourists are going there.

    So lets make this easy. If those parks didn't exist would those people play tourist elsewhere? Yes or No.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 9 hours ago

    "Again you assume the driver to tour is the park. In some cases that may be true."

    I don't have to assume that. The visitation numbers speak for themselves. Places like Great Smoky, Yosemite, Virgin Islands, Shenandoah -- they are drivers of tourism, which we know because tourists are going there. This requires no assuming on my part. And since, in this study, local tourists were filtered out, the report can pretty clearly show the impact on lodging/food services that tourists to the parks have had.

    200 years ago, the state of Pennsylvania nearly tore down Independence Hall. Now between 3 and 4 million people a year are visiting that. That is a concrete driver of tourism.

    Now, maybe if that building hadn't been saved, those 3 to 4 million people would still be visiting. And maybe if we had chopped down the redwoods, and hadn't protected Yosemite Valley, and hadn't protected Yellowstone, maybe there would be virtually no impact to the amount of travel done within the United States. There's been no study to support such an assumption, though.

    "But I find it incredible that the majority of those people would stay at home and sit on their hands if there wasn't a NP to go to."

    Sounds like you're the one making assumptions, then, not the report. You're assuming that if we didn't have any of our National Parks, there'd be little fluctuation in tourism. Sounds like a shaky assumption.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 9 hours ago

    ["The parks] are competing for ...tax dollars. If anything, they at least deserve more money for maintainance of the parks and show on paper that a dollar spent returns 10."

    You're right, David, and I believe that's the primary reason for these reports. Right or wrong, a key measuring stick for many in Congress when it comes to appropriating tax dollars seems to be whether an agency or program contributes to the GNP.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 9 hours ago

    But the National Parks are a significant driver of tourism, as clearly demonstrated by the millions of visitors certain parks get and the spending they engage in for food and lodging and alcohol in those locations.

    Again you assume the driver to tour is the park. In some cases that may be true. But I find it incredible that the majority of those people would stay at home and sit on their hands if there wasn't a NP to go to.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 9 hours ago

    That's a good point, ethelred. I forgot about the millions of foreign visitors to the parks each year. Whenever I speak with them, it's interesting how much of their trip to the states is organized around the parks. It's pretty implict that their trip through the U.S. would be abridged if the parks didn't exist. In National Park of American Samoa, everyone we encountered was from another country, traveling through the South Pacific islands, and not a single one would have stopped in Pago (pretty obviously (and unfortunately) if you've been there) or made it to Ofu (no easy way to get there) without the park.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 9 hours ago

    True, but the wealthy definitely drive those small mountain town resort economies and keep them somewhat afloat. Otherwise, they will just become another one of those rural impoverished areas where many residents dont even have running water to their homes.

    If that were true I would say "So what?". But living and being involved in one of those communities I know that it isn't true. The vast driver of economics in Breckenridge is the tourist. The non-wealthy family from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Minnisota.... Their sales taxes and lodging taxes provide by far the largest portion of the towns operating budget and generate the vast majority of the employment and income for the town and County.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 9 hours ago

    "You are assuming that if there were no NPs people wouldn't engage in tourism, travel or eat out. That assumption is absurd. Yes, there may be some incremental demand but to claim the entire spending as incremental is equally absurd."

    I claimed no such thing; only a willful misreading of what I wrote could lead you to such a statement. The line immediately preceding what you quoted had me saying this: "They're not the only reason people travel within the country, but they are a big driver."

    So no, I am hardly assuming that if there were no National Parks people wouldn't engage in tourism. I quite specifically said that there are other reasons to travel. But the National Parks are a significant driver of tourism, as clearly demonstrated by the millions of visitors certain parks get and the spending they engage in for food and lodging and alcohol in those locations.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 9 hours ago

    ecbuck, I get your point. But fact is the parks are trying to show their worth through a little propaganda. They are competing for recreating dollars spent by vacationers and at the same time competing for tax dollars. If anything, they at least deserve more money for maintainance of the parks and show on paper that a dollar spent returns 10. I would bet Disney talks about their tax contribution when they need better roads or services. Anyway my point is it may be important to NPS to use the propaganda to get what they need.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   1 week 9 hours ago

    Domestically if people weren't traveling, that is money that would not go to lodging (they'd be home), or restaurants (they can cook at home).

    You are assuming that if there were no NPs people wouldn't engage in tourism, travel or eat out. That assumption is absurd. Yes, there may be some incremental demand but to claim the entire spending as incremental is equally absurd.