State Parks Paying Dividends for Delawareans

In Fiscal Year 2016, nearly $53 million in state and local taxes were generated by Delaware’s State Parks.
That finding came from a first-ever independent economic impact study of Delaware’s 16 state parks, released earlier this week.
Commissioned by the Delaware Division of Parks, the analysis by market research & consulting company Rockport Analytics examined the benefits of park visitors to Delaware’s gross domestic product, jobs, wages, and tax receipts for Fiscal Years 2016 & 2017.
The tax revenue generated by park visits in FY 2016 alone included $12 million in hotel taxes; $4.7 million in income taxes; and $9.5 million in property taxes.

Further, the study found that for every dollar spent in the state budget to support state parks, $40 was generated in economic activity — far surpassing levels seen in nearby states: Maryland ($18), Virginia ($13), and Pennsylvania ($12).

“It did not come as any surprise that our parks are economic engines, but the magnitude of the return-on-investment was startling,” said State Rep. Steve Smyk, R-Milton-Lewes, whose district borders Cape Henlopen State Park.
Rep. Smyk joined other officials Monday evening for a special event and the report’s official release.
Located just south of Lewes, the 5,193-acre Cape Henlopen State Park accounted for about a third of all spending by state park visitors, trailing only Delaware Seashore State Park & Indian River Marina.  Guests visiting Cape Henlopen spent an average of $217 per person.
Overall, there were an estimated 4.1 million visits to Delaware’s 16 state parks in FY 2016 & 2017.  Of that total, the report noted that “1.6 million could truly be classified as primary visitors — those who traveled at least 50 miles and named a state park as the primary reason for their visit.”
“Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore State Park, and Fenwick Island combined for almost 93-percent of total park visitor spending,” Rep. Smyk said.  “The natural beauty of these areas will continue to draw public interest and the continued development of Fort Miles as a first-class historical attraction will only further enhance that appeal.”