New York State Park System: An Economic Asset to the Empire State

New York State Parks generate substantial net economic benefits for the people and economy of the Empire State. On a statewide basis, direct spending by the Office of Parks, Recreation, & Historic Preservation and spending by visitors to state parks supports up to $1.9 billion in output and sales, $440 million in employment income, and 20,000 jobs. These benefits are distributed among the eleven regions that constitute the State Park System according to the number, size, and nature of the parks and historic sites in the various regions.

The State Park System in 2008-2009 is supported by $341 million in state government expenditures, including $253 million in operating budget and $88 million in capital investments. Clearly, the impact of the State Park System on New York’s economy is sizeable: the benefits exceed the direct costs of maintaining the state parks many times over. The benefit-to-cost ratio is more than 5-to-1: more than $5 in benefits for every $1 in costs.

This study focuses on two key channels through which the State Park System impacts New York’s economy: public spending on parks for operations and capital improvements and spending by visitors in parks and surrounding areas.

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