Jul 5, 2022 - News

Colorado national parks drew record spending in 2021

πŸ• National Park visitor spending, 2021
Data: National Park Service; Note: Delaware does not include any National Parks that collect visitor data; Map: Axios Visuals

Visitors to Colorado's national parks spent a record $560 million in 2021, ranking the state 13th nationwide, according to a new report from the National Park Service.

  • Last year's total outpaces the historic high of $515 million set in 2019, and is 43% more than in 2020, when the figure plunged to $392 million.

Why it matters: The overall outdoor economy was responsible for more than $9.5 billion of state revenue β€” 2.5% of Colorado's GDP in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

By the numbers: Colorado's national parks attracted 7.8 million visitors in 2021.

  • The largest share of park spending was on lodging, at $188 million, followed by restaurants ($109 million) and fuel ($72.7 million).
  • Colorado's national parks also support nearly 7,600 jobs, generating $303 million in labor income.

Of note: Rocky Mountain National Park was the most visited site, generating $323 million.

  • Mesa Verde National Park was the second-most-trafficked, raking in nearly $63 million.

The other side: The popularity of Colorado's national parks has taken a toll on facilities and visitor access, as public land managers attempt to curb human impacts on the environment.

  • Rocky Mountain National Park now requires a time entry reservation.
  • Many other public lands in Colorado also have tightened visitor restrictions this summer.

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