Thomas Edison National Park Creates Economic Boom For West Orange

A recent report from the National Park Service revealed that Thomas Edison National Historic Park’s nearly 58 thousand visitors in 2016 spent $3.4 million dollars in communities local to the park.

“Thomas Edison National Park welcomes visitors from both the community as well as from across the country and the world,” said Superintendent Thomas Ross. “People typically spend a few hours here at the park, and then often in the community after leaving, which can include spending money for food, lodging, gas or at retail stores. Park employees also spend in the local community. All of these circumstances have a positive economic benefit on the community.”

Along with the monetary benefit, this spending also has a positive impact by supporting jobs in the local area. According to the study, the community spending by visitors to the Thomas Edison National Park supports 44 local jobs and has a cumulative benefit of 4.7 million dollars to the local economy.

“Because of the additional local spending and overall increase in visitors to the area, Thomas Edison Park visitors supports 44 new jobs across various sectors of the economy,” Ross said. “These jobs would not exist without our park visitors. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service. We appreciate our West Orange community partnerships and are glad to help support the local economy along the downtown Main Street corridor and beyond.” 
The visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koonz of the National Park Service. According to the report, most victors spending fell in the categories of lodging, food and beverages, gas and oil, admissions and fees, souvenirs and other expenses, and local transportation. 

“Many people don’t realize that in addition to preserving and protecting national heritage and the country’s natural spaces for this and future generations, National Parks also provide economic benefit on both a community and state level. The parks are not just for visiting. There is a vital component that has a significant impact on our local economy,” Ross said.

More information on the report can be found by using the interactive tool available on The NPS Social Science Program web site (go.nps.gov/vse). Here, users can view current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies as well as year-by-year trend data. The report includes data for visitor spending at both individual parks and by state. 

Thomas Edison National Historical Park is dedicated to promoting understanding and appreciation of the life and extraordinary achievements of Thomas Edison by preserving, protecting, and interpreting the Park’s extensive historic artifact and archive collections at the Edison Laboratory Complex and Glenmont, the Edison family estate. The site preserves the last and largest of Edison’s laboratories, home of the perfected phonograph, motion pictures, the nickel-iron alkaline storage battery, and other products. The museum collection, one of the largest in the National Park Service, has more than 400,000 artifacts including Edison products, laboratory equipment, and personal belongings of the Edisons. The Edison Archives contains an estimated five million documents, 48,000 sound recordings, 10,000 rare books, 4,000 laboratory notebooks and 60,000 photographic images, among the largest collections in the National Park Service. Glenmont, the 29-room mansion built in 1880 is the Edison estate in nearby Llewellyn Park, West Orange.

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