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6 Million People Visited Colorado National Parks Last Year

Colorado National Monument
National Parks Service

A new federal report finds in 2014 national parks saw a record number of visitors. And, those tourists generated nearly $30 billion in economic activity. 

Colorado has a dozen national parks. More than 6 million people visited these sites last year, according a National Park Service report. 

It says tourists contributed more than $370 million in visitor spending to local gateway communities. And, the study says that spending supported 5,800 jobs in the state. 

Overall, NPS estimates national parks had an economic impact of $552 million on Colorado’s economy.  

"Colorado National Monument is really very well known for the hiking that happens here," Valerie Gohlke, the acting chief of interpretation and education at the monument, says. "Bicyclists really enjoy biking through the monument as well." 

Gohlke says more than 400,000 people visited the site last year. 

"So here at Colorado National Monument it was calculated out that about $25 million goes back into the community from our visitors who come here and then enjoy attractions and amenities," she says.

An additional federal report, released at the same time, finds national parks in the lower 48 states absorb 14.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year. The study estimates that carbon sequestration has an economic value of $582.5 million.

Laura joined KVNF in 2014. She was the news director for two years and now works as a freelance reporter covering Colorado's Western Slope. Laura is an award-winning journalist with work recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists, Colorado Broadcasters Association, and RTDNA. In 2015, she was a fellow for the Institute for Justice & Journalism. Her fellowship project, a three-part series on the Karen refugee community in Delta, Colorado, received a regional Edward R. Murrow Award.
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