Idaho’s state parks provide more than just access to cherished outdoor public spaces, they deliver a significant economic impact in rural cities and counties across the state. That is the finding from a study conducted by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) in partnership with Boise State University’s Department of Economics.
Idaho’s 30 state parks, encompassing 60,000 acres of protected land, welcomed 5.5 million visitors in 2016 and contributed $184 million to the state’s economy, according to the Idaho State Journal.
General funding (taxpayer support) equates to less than 10% of IDPR’s annual budget, representing about a $3.4 million dollar investment each year. For every $1 invested by Idaho taxpayers, $54 are returned to Idaho in economic activity. That is a significant return on investment.
Idaho’s State Parks, visitors and related spending created 3,039 jobs in nearby communities, generating nearly $89 million in wages, salaries and benefits.
“While we often focus on the value of spending time in our Idaho parks, it’s rewarding to see that the parks are also delivering a strong return on investment for taxpayers and those communities surrounding the parks ,” said David Langhorst, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation director. “Idaho’s State Parks are vital to rural communities and help shape the quality of life we all know and love.”
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