Economic Contribution and Impacts of Arizona's State Parks

This study presents an analysis of the importance of Arizona State Parks to the state’s economy and to the 13 county economies where state parks are located. The study measures two types of economic effects: county economic impacts and state economic contributions. Both measures are rooted in visitor spending. State parks attract visitors, often from outside the local area, that spend money on such things as lodging, meals, and incidental expenditures. This spending is important to local economies, supporting businesses and jobs, and creating additional rounds of spending in the local economy, known as economic multiplier effects. Spending by non-local visitors, attracted to state parks from outside the local area, represents net new money circulating in the local economy, and therefore is considered as an economic impact. This study presents county-level economic impact estimates for all counties in Arizona with state parks. We also consider all (local and non-local) visitor spending in and around state parks in estimating the economic contribution of state parks to Arizona’s economy. An economic contribution analysis presents a snapshot of existing economic activity surrounding a particular industry or attraction; however, it does not differentiate where spending is coming from. In other words, spending by local residents is simply money being recirculated within the local economy and does not generate net new economic activity within the region’s economy. Finally, we present a brief analysis of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on visits to Arizona State Parks to provide context on the level of visits observed during fiscal year 2020.


Dari Duval, Ashley K. Bickel, George Frisvold

Publication Date