MUNISING - A recent study estimates the annual economic benefit of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to the surrounding communities exceeds $20 million.
The updated 54-page study was authored by Daniel J. Stynes from Michigan State University, who was working on behalf of the National Park Service Social Science Program.
Stynes used a Money Generation Model, which calculates the economic benefit of every unit of the U.S. National Park System to reach his conclusions.
Miners Castle is shown here at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. A recent study estimates the annual economic benefit of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to the surrounding communities exceeds $20 million. (Journal file photo by John Pepin)
The "National Park Visitor Spending and Payroll Impacts 2007" report estimates that the combination of park visitor spending and Park Service payroll supports a total of 449 jobs in the local area.
There were a total of 441,521 visitors to Pictured Rocks in 2007. The local area defined for the purposes of the study was within 50 miles of the park.
"In my mind, parks are priceless," Pictured Rocks Superintendent Jim Northup said. "As Americans, I hope we value our parks not only for their economic value but moreso for what they represent as part of our heritage, for preserving the best of what America has to offer for future generations, and for opportunities to learn, have fun, find inspiration, physical challenge and even spiritual renewal."
But Northup said particularly in difficult economic times, studies like those completed by Stynes serve as "an important reminder that individual units of the national park system, as well as national forests and national wildlife refuges, have tremendous economic benefit to local communities."
"We are proud to be an important component of what makes the Upper Peninsula such a special place to visit, and hope the community appreciates the park's value as well," Northup said.
Northup said the benefit to the local community is even greater when you add in money spent by the Park Service for a variety of contracts for special projects each year that was not included in the study.
"The park staff and I will continue to do everything we can to continue to make Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore an attractive and wonderful place to visit, and look forward to continuing our work with the gateway communities, our partner organizations and other citizens to promote nature-based and heritage education tourism to our area," Northup said.
The full NPS study is available on-line at: www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/pdf/MGM2_CY07.pdf