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NPS Report: Wilson's Creek Pumped $10M into the Local Economy in 2011

Wilson's Creek Cannon
A cannon at the final position of Union Col. Franz Sigel, where he was defeated. This turned the battle's tide in favor of the South. (Photo credit: Jeremy Shreckhise, KSMU)

A National Park Service Report found that in 2011, Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield’s nearly 200,000 visitors spent over 10 million dollars in the greater Springfield area. KSMU’s Melanie Foehrweiser has details.

The report, which was put together by Michigan State University, compiles information from National Parks across the US. Ted Hillmer is the superintendent at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.

“We were contacted by them [Michigan State University] and provided them some information and they came out with a report trying to determine if the parks do provide an economic asset to our local economy. I know we always have, but this kind of verifies that.”

Hillmer says roughly half of the visitors to the battlefield each year are local, and that those local visitors then influence others to come from out of town.

“It’s people like yourself or myself that have people who come into town and they ask you, because you’re putting them up that evening, 'Where do you go? What do you do in Springfield?' And of course I’d like to make sure I say to my guests, 'We need to go to the battlefield,'” Hillmer said.

Hillmer says summer is the park’s busiest season, although schools bring nearly 8,000 students to the park between April and June each year.  He's started calling that period “yellow school bus fever.” 

According to the Michigan State report, the money generated by Wilson’s Creek helped to create 156 jobs in 2011. Hillmer says these jobs are spread throughout the community.

“We contract a lot of our projects out. So, therefore a contract would come in here, and bring you know, let’s say they’re doing a striping job, which they did here a few years ago, they would probably bring in 2 to 3, maybe 4 other people. So there’s 4 jobs right there.”

According to the report, the economy is also helped by park visitors spending money locally on things like gas, food, and lodging. The report also says that every dollar invested into a national park results in a 10 dollar benefit to the nation’s economy.

For KSMU News, I’m Melanie Foehrweiser.