Tourism to Big Thicket National Preserve creates $7,893,000 in Economic Benefits

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 125,832 visitors to Big Thicket National Preserve in 2015 spent $7,893,000 in communities near the preserve. That spending supported 112 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $10,139,900.

“Big Thicket National Preserve welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Wayne Prokopetz. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides. We also feature the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

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 $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally; 252,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion.

According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent).

Report authors this year produced an interactive tool where users can explore current year 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 report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

To learn more about national parks in Texas and how the National Park Service works with Texas communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to

For general information about Big Thicket National Preserve, visit or call the preserve visitor center at (409) 951-6700.