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Visitors To Region’s National Parks Spent Millions In 2014

A new report from the National Park Service shows in 2014, visitors spent an estimated $15 billion in gateway communities to national parks, supporting more than 275,000 jobs.

Visitors to national parks in Washington spent more than $450 million last year in communities within 60 miles of a park, according to the report. Visitors in Oregon spent more than $70 million in towns near parks.

Oregon and Washington are home to national parks like Mount Rainier, Crater Lake and the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

Olympic National Park saw by far the most visitors among sites in the two states -- more than 3.2 million, according to the park service report.

“We have people, basically from around the world come and stay at our hotel to go play in the Olympic National Park,” said JoAnne Crawford, manager at the Port Angeles Inn in Port Angeles, Washington.

She said those visitors are vital for local businesses because they’re spending money on a hotel room; breakfast, lunch and dinners; and souvenirs.

According to the report, the spending helped support more than 7,500 jobs in Washington and Oregon.

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Conrad Wilson is a reporter and producer covering criminal justice and legal affairs for OPB.