Colorado’s parks bring in $7 billion each year, with Garden of the Gods a key contributor in Colorado Springs

Jess Hazel KRCC
The Garden of the Gods features 21 miles of trails that wind through soaring sandstone fins.

A recent report from the National Recreation and Park Association found that local parks and recreation systems in Colorado bring in more than $7 billion a year and employ nearly 40,000 people across the state. That puts the economic impact of parks in Colorado at sixth among all 50 U.S. states, behind California, Florida, Texas, New York and Illinois. 

In the Pikes Peak region, Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs is a big part of that, with 4.5 million people visiting the park each year, according to a recent report from the Colorado Springs-based nonprofit Data-Driven Economic Strategies. 

The study estimated that Garden of the Gods provided more than 4,000 jobs to the Pikes Peak region in 2022 and contributed $271 million to the economy that same year. The park also helped generate $21 million in regional tax revenue. 

Executive director of Data-Driven Economic Strategies, Tatiana Bailey, conducted the economic impact report for Garden of the Gods. She said that the park creates a “ripple effect” that brings money into the region, even though admission to the park is free. 

“You think about the additional people that come to the region because it’s such a stunning park,” she said. “Right there you’re going to have individuals who are coming and they’re renting cars, and they are staying overnight…they go out to eat, they buy trinkets, they buy tee-shirts, and that ripple effect is actually huge.” 

Bailey said she expects the economic impact of spaces like Garden of the Gods to increase, especially as the region continues to grow. 

The recent national report from the NRPA found that local parks and recreation agencies generated $201 billion and supported 1.1 million jobs across the country in 2021.

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