Report: Capulin Volcano adds $1.8 million to local economy

Report shows visitor spending supports 27 jobs in local economy

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 60,132 visitors to Capulin Volcano in 2016 spent $1.806 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 27 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $1.818 million.

“Capulin Volcano National Monument welcomes thousands of visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Randy Bilbeisi. “Union and Colfax counties are the gateway to the Land of Enchantment for so many visitors. We do our best to represent northeast New Mexico and share the history and culture of this place and the experiences it provides. Tourism to national parks is a significant driver in our state and national economies, returning more than $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service. It’s a factor in our local economy, as well. We greatly 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 $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; 271,544,000 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%).

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.

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