"This new report confirms national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy," said Sue Masica, director of the agency's eight-state Intermountain Region, which includes Utah.
"From Arches and Canyonlands to Timpanogos Cave National Monument, Utah's national parks attract nearly 9 million visitors a year from across the country and around the world," she added. "Whether they are out for an afternoon, a school field trip or a long family vacation, they come for a great experience and they end up spending money along the way, too."
Nationally, the report said, 273.6 million park visitors spent $14.6 billion in "gateway" communities within 60 miles of a park. This tourism supported 237,000 jobs.
Most of the money was spent on lodging (30 percent), followed closely by food and beverages (27 percent). Gas and oil purchases contributed 12 percent, while souvenirs, fees and admissions accounted for the rest.
Jobs were heavily weighted toward restaurants and bars (50,000) and lodging (38,000).
In a related study, the Park Service said Great Basin National Park just across Utah's state line in Nevada attracted 92,893 visitors who spent $4.9 million in communities near the park last year. That spending supported 59 jobs.
While Baker, Nev., was the main beneficiary, merchants in the Delta area also reaped rewards from park visitors coming from the east.
Park Service visits
To download the report, visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm.