Tennessee State Parks operates 57 state parks and 85 natural areas encompassing over 200,000 acres of land with numerous park facilities, swimming pools, golf courses, cabins, campsites, trails, and nature centers.
Our state parks had an economic impact of $1.84 billion in Tennessee in 2020 and welcomed 34.7 million visits, according to a report done for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
The report notes that local area spending by visitors has a substantial impact on local economies. The parks reached historic highs in camping, recording four of the top 10 months ever, and set a pace for future success with $184 million in investments in capital projects throughout the year. Those projects alone are expected to result in over $400 million in economic impact to the state.
Tennessee State Parks Drive A Healthy Economy
The figures show that Tennessee State Parks are not only a great way for Tennesseans to get outdoors but are a significant driver of a healthy Tennessee economy as well.
In total, the report found $1.7 billion in economic impact from operations and visitor spending; $126.7 million from capital projects; and $11.4 million from facilities and land management maintenance projects.
The economic impact report found:
- 14,514 total jobs supported by parks activity
- $110.3 million in state taxes reflected in parks activity, which is more than double what the state general fund contributes to state parks
- $22.1 million in local county taxes generated from parks activity
The report was conducted by Impact DataSource, an economic consulting firm based in Austin, Texas, the same firm used by the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development. It also relied on visitor spending data collected by the University of Tennessee Human Dimensions Research Lab. The report assesses the impact of the state’s operating expenditures, maintenance and capital expenditures, and parks visitors’ spending.