National Park tourism boosts the Connecticut economy

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that the 34,083 visitors to Connecticut’s one national park site spent $1.9 million in the state in 2014.

That spending resulted in 27 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the state economy of $2.5 million, according to the report.

The one NPS location in Connecticut is Weir Farm National Historic Site in Wilton and Ridgefield, a 60-acre  property where many well-known American Impressionist painters worked and visited in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Weir Farm is one of only two sites in the NPS system devoted to the visual arts.

“Weir Farm National Historic Site in Connecticut attracts visitors from across the country,” said NPS Northeast Regional Director Mike Caldwell.

“Whether they are out for an afternoon, a school field trip, or a family vacation, visitors come to have a great experience, and end up spending a little money along the way," Caldwell said.

Admission to Weir Farm is free. Parking also is free but is limited due to space restrictions. The address is 735 Nod Hill Road, Wilton. Learn more about the park at:

Helps hotels, restaurants, stores

On a national basis, the NPS report shows $15.7 billion of direct spending by 292.8 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park.

This spending supported 277,000 jobs nationally, with 235,600 of those jobs found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $29.7 billion.

According to the 2014 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31%) followed by food and beverages (20%), gas and oil (12%), admissions and fees (10%), and souvenirs (10%).

“This new report shows that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy — returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service,” Caldwell said.