The Montana Budget and Policy Center advocates using our tax dollars to invest in infrastructure and policies that create jobs and boost our state economy. Glacier National Park is a great example of a smart investment. Not only is it my favorite place to visit, but also according to a news report yesterday, Glacier generated $179 million in economic benefit in 2013.
It is clear that Glacier is more than beautiful hikes, powerful waterfalls, and fresh mountain air for the Montanans that love it. It brings in 2.2 million visitors from all over the world and supports 2,824 jobs in the area.
You can read the full report, which gives a wide range of information about the value of national parks. One significant stat is that tourism to national parks returns $10 for every $1 invested across the country. Talk about a bang for our public buck. Can you imagine if that was the return on your personal investments?
We need to keep thinking of our tax dollars as investments in the future. Parks bring in tourists, bridges and roads make it easier for businesses to flourish, and schools create an educated workforce.