Fort Pulaski is a $21m local economic benefit, but is the 150th having an impact?

From the Fort Pulaski National Monument website:

Fort Pulaski National Monument Tourism Creates $21,605,000 in Local Economic Benefit

Savannah, GA – A new National Park Service (NPS) report for 2011 shows that the 408,104 visitors to Fort Pulaski National Monument spent $21,605,000 in communities surrounding the park. This spending supported 312 jobs in the local area.

“Fort Pulaski is one of the most well-preserved historic and natural resources in the United States,” said Interim Superintendent, Terri Wales. “The story of Fort Pulaski appeals to a wide range of visitors. It is the site of Robert E. Lee’s first assignment, of John Wesley’s first sermon in the New World, of a Civil War battle at which rifled cannons first successfully breached masonry fortifications – signaling the obsolescence of such fortifications for coastal defenses. It is also the site where, in 1862, U.S. General David Hunter issued an unauthorized order to emancipate slaves in 3 states. Additionally, the National Monument contains one of the largest federally protected salt marshes in the United States.”

“Visitors from across the U.S. and around the world come here to experience the beauty and history of the park, Savannah, and Tybee Island and then spend time and money enjoying the services provided by our neighboring communities and getting to know this amazing part of the country. The National Park Service is proud to have been entrusted with the care of America’s most treasured places and delighted that the visitors we welcome generate significant contributions to the local, state, and national economy.”

The information on Fort Pulaski is part of a peer-reviewed spending analysis of national park visitors across the country conducted by Michigan State University for the National Park Service. For 2011, that report shows $13 billion of direct spending by 279 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. That visitor spending had a $30 billion impact on the entire U.S. economy and supported 252,000 jobs nationwide.

Most visitor spending supports jobs in lodging, food, and beverage service (63 percent) followed by recreation and entertainment (17 percent), other retail (11percent), transportation and fuel (7 percent) and wholesale and manufacturing (2 percent.)

To download the report, visit and click on Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation, 2011. The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

(Full story here)

As the article mentions, the full report for 2011 is available on the National Park Service site. The report details how the report was complied and where the numbers came from.

The news release did not mention Fort Pulaski’s figures for 2010, as a comparison. The 2010 report is on file at Money Generation Model website. The comparison in numbers of visitors is 416,292 in 2010, down to 408,404 in 2011. Visitor spending went from $20.7M in 2010, up to $21.6M in 2011. And job impacts went from 295 in 2010, down slightly to 293 in 2011.

However, 2011 was NOT the big year for Fort Pulaski with respect to the sesquicentennial. We’ll have to wait for the 2012 report to see what impact that event may have had (or likewise for Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Richmond Battlefields, Manassas (2nd), Antietam, and Fredericksburg).

But Fort Sumter did have a major sesquicentennial event during the two reporting periods. For 2010, Fort Sumter had 797,713 visitors, with spending estimates at $18.4M. For 2011, Fort Sumter’s numbers were 857,883 visitors, spending $21,6M according to the estimates.

How about Manassas, which also had a sesquicentennial event? In 2010 that Virginia park logged 612,490 visitors, spending an estimated $8,2M. In 2011 park visitors numbered 659,740, spending $9.6M.

Or a non-Civil War site with a bicentennial on the way – Fort McHenry. Visitor totals up from 611,582 to 641,254 over the two years. Spending up from $39.8M to $44.1M.

Looks like the NPS is seeing modest gains across the board at historical venues. Nor enough data to call out sesquicentenial trends. But what I still can’t figure out is how Fort Pulaski generates more visitor spending, indeed over double spending, than Manassas, even with fewer visitors. Maybe the Tybee Island beach traffic has more cash in pocket?


One thought on “Fort Pulaski is a $21m local economic benefit, but is the 150th having an impact?

  1. My thought as to why Ft. Pulaski might earn more the the Manassas battlefields site is because most site visitors are locals, while Ft. Pulaski man people I would imagine are already tourists visiting the beachs and more like to spend. I suspect that people aren’t going to the Tybee Island area to visit Ft. Pulaski, but do visit the fort when they visit Tybee Island.

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