06-28-21 | News

Visitors of Public Lands in 2020 Added $13.5 Billion to the Economy

The Forest Service Says the Visitors Helped Sustain 161,000 Jobs

With people looking to get out and away from their homes, public lands added $13.5 billion to the U.S. economy and added 161,000 jobs - the most of any industry last year. The U.S. Forest Service saw 168.2 million visitors, proving that open spaces aid mental health and the economy.

Travel seemingly stopped due to the pandemic, however, national forests saw 168.2 million visits, marking an 18 million increase from 2019, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

National forests not only support the lands they sit on, but the public lands also bolster rural communities known as gateway cities. In 2020, visitors added $13.5 billion to the Nation's gross domestic product spending and aided in sustaining about 161,000 jobs.

"When visitors make the trip out to their national forests, gateway communities are a convenient resting place to stay the night, stop for a bite to eat, or purchase supplies," Henry Eichman, an economist with the Forest Service enthused, "In 2020, people were participating in outdoor recreation in unprecedented numbers across the country, most likely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic."

More visits to the National Forests occurred during the last half of the year, starting around May through October. However, some recreation saw decreases as sites such as downhill skiing facilities, campgrounds, and visitor centers due to closures caused by the pandemic.


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