NEPA Scene Staff

Steamtown National Historic Site generated $7.4 million in economic benefits for Scranton area in 2016

Steamtown National Historic Site generated $7.4 million in economic benefits for Scranton area in 2016
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

From a press release:

A new National Park Service report shows that 99,600 visitors to the Steamtown National Historic Site in 2016 spent $5,403,500 in communities near the park in downtown Scranton. That spending supported 86 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $7,432,400.

“NPS Centennial initiatives, including Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque and Every Kid in a Park, provided opportunities for a wide range of visitors to explore and experience Steamtown NHS,” said Acting Superintendent Dawn Mach.

“Additionally, we reintroduced ‘live’ steam programs at the park in 2016 when we rededicated our Baldwin Locomotive Works No. 26 steam switcher locomotive last spring, and that helped increase park visitation. We introduced a new education program, ‘Railroads, Rivers, and You!,’ a curriculum-based course on railroads and environmental conservation for fourth grade students that brought a new generation of visitors to the park in the hope that they will be lifelong visitors to parks regionally, in Pennsylvania, and throughout our country. We plan to continue this momentum as we move forward into 2017 and beyond.”

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 $18.4 billion of direct spending by 331 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 318,000 jobs nationally; 271,544 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $34.9 billion.

According to the 2016 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.2 percent), followed by food and beverages (27.2 percent), gas and oil (11.7 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent), and camping fees (2.5 percent).

Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. 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 interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage. The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

The Steamtown NHS (350 Cliff St., Scranton) is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. From I-81, follow exit 185 (Central Scranton Expressway), then follow the brown and white signs to the park entrance at Lackawanna and Cliff Avenues (GPS: N 41.41, W 75.67). General park information is available by calling 570-340-5204 during regular business hours or by visiting the park website.

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

Photo by NPS/Kenny Ganz