Alaska’s national parks had 2.78M visitors in 2016

Some 2.8 million visitors to Alaska’s national parks in 2016 spent $1.298 billion, supporting 18,940 jobs in the state, a new National Park Service report states.

The report also shows that national park tourism is a significant driver in the regional and local economies.

The most-visited national parks in Alaska in 2016 were Klondike Gold Rush, 912,351 visitors; Denali, 587,412; Glacier Bay, 520,171; Kenai Fjords, 217,141; and Sitka, 217,141.

Economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service did the analysis for the report, which is online at

On a national scale, the report shows $18.4 billion in direct spending by 331 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 318,000 jobs nationally, with 271,544 of those jobs in these gateway communities.

The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $34.9 billion. In Alaska, a variety of businesses often help make park visits possible.


The more than 400 private businesses operating in Alaska’s national park areas range from small, local companies to large international corporations.

The report shows that most park visitor spending nationally was for lodging, 31.2 percent; followed by food and beverages, 27.2 percent; gas and oil, 11.7 percent; admissions and fees, 10.2 percent; souvenirs and other expenses, 9.7 percent; local transportation, 7.4 percent; and camping fees, 2.5 percent. An interactive tool to explore the data is available at