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Sandburg Home generates $5.8 million for economy, NPS says

FLAT ROCK — The Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site attracted 78,000 visitors last year who spent $4.6 million in communities near the park, supporting 68 jobs in the local area and generating a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $5.8 million, a new National Park Service report said.


“In 2019, North Carolina’s 10 national park units generated more than $2 billion in economic benefits," said Sandburg Home Superintendent Polly Angelakis. "Our state ranks third, nationally, in terms of visitor spending in local communities. North Carolina ranks second nationally in terms of community jobs supported by this visitor spending. Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site is proud to share Sandburg’s legacy and help contribute to our local and state economies.”

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $21 billion of direct spending by more than 327 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 340,500 jobs nationally; 278,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $41.7 billion.

Lodging expenses account for the largest share of visitor spending, about $7.1 billion in 2019. The restaurant sector had the next greatest effects with $4.2 billion in economic output. Motor vehicle fuel expenditures were $2.16 billion with retail spending at $1.93 billion.

Visitor spending on lodging supported more than 58,000 jobs and more than 61,000 jobs in restaurants. Visitor spending in the recreation industries supported more than 28,000 jobs and spending in retail supported more than 20,000 jobs.

Report authors also produce an interactive tool that enables users to explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: