Government shutdown cut visits to Lake Mead by 43 percent in October

With official numbers in, the effect of the government shutdown can be quantified, at least when it comes to Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

When compared to a three-year average of visitation from 2010, 2011 and 2012, October visitation in 2013 came in 43 percent below at 267,253 visitors, according to a new report released by the National Park Service showing the effects of the 16-day government shutdown last year.

Visitor spending, too, was impacted according to the report, as October 2013’s total was $10.9 million compared to the prior three-year average of $19.3 million.

Nationwide, there was a 7.88 million person decline in visitation at all national parks because of the shutdown from Oct. 1-16, and a decline in overall visitor spending of $414 million within gateway communities across the U.S.

Nevada’s overall national park visitation for 2012 also was released Monday from the National Park Service. The report shows that 4.8 million visitors spent $194 million in the state in 2012.

The national parks in Nevada are Great Basin National Park, parts of Lake Mead National Recreation Area and parts of Death Valley National Park.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber, and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service. The report shows $14.7 billion of direct spending by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 243,000 jobs nationally, with 201,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.75 billion.

Contact reporter Laura Carroll at lcarroll@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4588. Follow @lscvegas on Twitter.