While overall visitors to national parks dipped slightly in 2010, spending by park guests surged, pumping about $31 billion to local economies, according to a national study released Tuesday.
In California, spending at national parks generated more than $1.3 billion and helped support 16,776 jobs, according to the study.
Bad weather, safety concerns for parks along the Mexican border and other factors pushed visitation numbers for the national parks down nearly 2%, from 285.5 million in 2009 to 281.3 million in 2010.
But a spending analysis released by Michigan State University says direct spending by visitors generated $12 billion in 2010. The spending spurred related enterprises around the parks, which contributed a total of $31 billion to local economies, according to the study by professor Daniel J. Stynes