The Alatna River winds its way through a long valley at Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. Photo courtesy of Sean Tevebaugh/NPS

A new National Park Service report shows that the 2,023,881 visitors to Alaska’s national parks spent nearly $1.2 million in the state in 2022, resulting in 16,450 jobs and with a cumulative benefit of $1.79 billion to the state economy. 

The two Alaska parks with the greatest amount of visitor spending were Denali and Glacier Bay national parks. Visitors to Glacier Bay accounted for $225 million in spending and supported 2,820 jobs. Denali accounted for $475 million in spending and supported 6,640 jobs, said regional director Sarah Creachbaum.  

“Every park in the state offers unique experiences, from learning about history up-close to diverse outdoor recreational opportunities. There’s something for everyone to see and enjoy,” Creachbaum said.  

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists at the National Park Service. The report shows $23.9 billion of direct spending by nearly 312 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 378,400 jobs nationally; 314,600 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $50.3 billion.  

The lodging sector had the highest direct effects, with $9 billion in economic output nationally. The restaurant sector was had the second greatest effects, with $4.6 billion in economic output nationally.  

Report authors also produced an interactive tool that enables users to explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage.