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Natural Economic Assets

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Susan Combs

September 25, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Every corner of Texas is blessed with beautiful state parks, and many of us have wonderful memories of spending time in these natural areas with our families and friends. The benefits of state parks are well-known: they preserve unspoiled land for the enjoyment of future generations, they offer visitors opportunities for recreation and education, they provide protection for our watersheds and endangered species, and they contribute to our state’s overall public health and quality of life.

But many Texans may not realize that parks benefit our state and local economies as well. With this report, we hope to highlight the economic benefits of state parks. We visited numerous state parks around the state, talked with local economic development and tourism officials, studied retail sales and other data, and pored over recent economic analyses. We are pleased to share our findings, which demonstrate the favorable impact that the state parks have on the Texas economy and the positive returns the state receives on its financial investments to operate, maintain and preserve these crown jewels of Texas.

For example, we found that state parks generated almost $3 million in retail sales and $1.5 million in resident income, on average, in counties with state parks. Parks created 66 jobs, on average, in rural counties and 53 jobs in metropolitan counties. We also found that visitors to state parks from outside Texas added $15.7 million to the gross state product, $7.9 million in total personal income and 288 jobs.

Our parks are in dire need of additional funding to meet their most basic needs. At this critical time, it is important to understand all of the benefits that state parks provide to the state, including the economic prosperity they bring to local communities. I hope you will find this report helpful.


Susan Combs

The Comptroller can be reached at P.O. Box 13528 Austin, TX 78711-3528, Telephone: 512-463-4000 toll free: 1-800-531-5441 FAX: 512-463-4965
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