WACO, Texas — New data from the National Park Service shows its parks contributed more than half a billion dollars to the Texas economy in 2021.
According to NPS, Texas national parks contributed approximately $578 million to the state’s economy and created more than 5,400 jobs, two new state records.
One of Texas’ 16 national parks, the Waco Mammoth National Monument has contributed more than $7 million in total to the local economy and created 76 jobs in the area, according to NPS.
The mammoth monument welcomed around 81,000 visitors in 2021, approaching pre-pandemic levels.
“There are people who do nothing but go from national park to national park, and we benefit from people who love to do this type of tourism,” said Carla Pendergraft, deputy director of tourism for the city. from Waco.
Justin Bates, superintendent of Waco Mammoth National Monument, said he expects even more growth for the park in the future.
“We’re seeing our visits continue to grow, continuing to take advantage of all of this energy and enthusiasm from people wanting to come to the city and spend time here,” Bates said.
The Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife said 25 News it has seen a major increase in visitors to state parks since the pandemic. 9.9 million people visited state parks in fiscal year 2021, the most to ever visit them in Texas history.
Outdoor attractions in Waco have suffered less from the pandemic, according to Pendergraft.
“In general, people during the pandemic were more comfortable being outdoors, so they didn’t see as much of a drop as some of the other attractions, which were completely closed,” he said. she stated.
To see the full economic impact of national parks in Texas, visit the National Park Service website.