The 13 national parks along the Route 15 corridor from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to Charlottesville, Virginia generated more than $270-million in spending by out-of-town visitors.
There appears to be more visitors to the national parks in our region, and that's a good thing for the local economy. A 2011 study by Economist David Styne at Michigan State University says the 13 national parks along the Route 15 corridor from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to Charlottesville, Virginia generated more than $270-million in spending by out-of-town visitors. That translates into 4,032 jobs and $108-million in wages and salaries.
"The 13 national parks within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area not only contribute significantly to our region's rich historic, natural and cultural landscape, but are significant economic engines for our communities," says Cate Macgennis Wyatt, the President of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.
Four of those 13 parks are fully or partially located in Frederick County: Catoctin Mountain Park, Monocacy National Park, Appalachian National Scenic Trail and the C&O Canal National Historic Park. The other parks are Antietam National Battlefield, Appomattox Court House National Historic Park, Eisenhower National Historic Site, Fredericksburg and Spottsylvania National Military Park, Gettysburg National Military Park, Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, Manassas National Battlefield, Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail and Shenandoah National Park.
"Visitors obviously require overnight lodging; often require meals, gasoline; they purchase souvenirs," says Shuan Butcher, spokesman for the Partnership. "And most of our parks have a nominal admission fee. Those figures are wrapped up into the $270-million economic impact."
He also says a lot of this increased interest could be due to the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, with heritage tourists visiting the sites associated with the War Between the States. "Local residents, of course, know about the Monocacy National Battlefield, and, of course, Antietam and Gettysburg. We also have the 11th largest attended national park is the C&O Canal National Park," he says.
Butcher expects that visitorship to increase, especially with the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg coming. "The Battle of Gettysburg celebrates its sesquicentennial in July, and then several other battlefield activities take place in 2014 and beyond," he says. The 150th anniversary of the Battle of Monocacy takes place next year.
The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership says the Route 15 corridor from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, through Frederick County, Maryland, and across the Potomac River into Virginia on to Charlottesville is considered the region "Where America Happened." It contains more than 100 sites associated with African-American and Native American history, 30 Main Street communities, and places connected to the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Civil War. April 22nd through the 26th is National Park Week.