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Visitors to Lake Mead boost area economy by $336 million

Almost 8 million people visited Lake Mead National Recreation Area in 2018 and spent approximately $336 million in the park’s local gateway communities, which includes Boulder City, according to a recent report from the National Park Service.

“The city benefits from these visitors because when the small-business owners — our residents — benefit; their employees — also our residents — benefit,” said Community Development Director Michael Mays. “Many visitors to Lake Mead shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants and stay in our motels and hotels.”

Lake Mead National Recreation Area is 1.5 million acre park that has mountains, canyons, valleys and two large lakes. Visitors can boat, hike, cycle, camp and fish or relax in one of the nine wilderness areas. It is located several miles outside of Boulder City off U.S. Highway 93.

“All tourism dollars matter to the bottom line in Boulder City,” said Jill Rowland-Lagan, CEO of the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce. “Whether that is represented by money from guests to the (Hoover) Dam, to the train, to the airport or to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The gaming/tourism industry makes up about $63.7 billion in the state of Nevada, our share of that is small, but mighty.”

“Proximity helps, but so does our reputation for being a welcoming, historic community,” added Mays. “Boaters often fuel up at our gas stations and buy groceries for their trips. Our outdoor attractions like Bootleg Canyon and the River Mountain Loop Trail bring hikers, bikers and outdoor enthusiasts … Boulder City offers unique opportunities for people who are from other parts of the world, but we also see a lot of people who work in the tourism industry in Las Vegas who are looking for a day away from the hustle and bustle of the Strip.”

The report was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Egan Cornachione of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. It looked at all the national parks in the country.

According to the report, lodging expenses accounted for the biggest part of the money spent by visitors, followed by food expenses like eating out or buying groceries.

The $336 million also supported 3,990 jobs, $149 million in labor income, $247 million value added and $397 million in economic output.

With the country as a whole, the report found $20.2 billion was spent by more than 318 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park.

The report authors also created an interactive tool allowing people to view year-by-year trend data. It it can be accessed at https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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