Almost 7 million visit Maryland National Parks

Visitors place state about on par with Mississippi

  • A 'saltwater cowboy,' as the volunteer firefighters are called, waits for the ponies to swim from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island.
A 'saltwater cowboy,' as the volunteer firefighters… (Erin Kirkland / Baltimore…)
March 03, 2014|By Natalie Sherman, The Baltimore Sun

Almost 7 million people visited national parks in Maryland in 2012, generating some $217.2 million in spending and 2,770 jobs, according to the National Park Service.

In Baltimore, Fort McHenry National Monument and Shrine drew more than 744,000 visitors, who spent about $40 million and sustained about 526 jobs. About 625,024 of the visitors were non-local, representing about $38.2 million, according to the new peer-reviewed report, which measures spending within a 60-mile radius of a park.

Compared to nearby states, Maryland's national park sites drew fewer visitors. Pennsylvania reported about 8.8 million people, Virginia 23.3 million and Washington, D.C. about 34.2 million. The number of Maryland visitors – 6,658,643 – placed it about level with Mississippi, which received 6.5 million, but reported lower economic spin-off of $191.4 million.

Other Maryland parks that drew large numbers of visitors included Antietam National Battlefield, with about 511,000 and Assateague Island National Seashore with 2.15 million, of which the study attributes about a third to Maryland and two-thirds to Virginia.

The George Washington Memorial Parkway drew about 7.4 million visitors, about 1 million of which were non-local.

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