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Reports hold mixed news for national parks

Albany, N.Y. (AP) -- A new federal government report said New York state's 22 national parks drew more than 12.6 million visitors who spent $446.4 million in 2012.

The report released Monday by the National Park Service also found national parks in the state supported 4,885 jobs in New York two years ago.

Mike Caldwell, the agency's Philadelphia-based Northeast regional director, said national park tourism returns $10 for every dollar invested in the National Park Service.

The New York statewide statistics were part of a national report on the economic impact of the park service's more than 400 sites across the U.S. The report said the national parks system generated more than $26.7 billion in economic activity in 2012 while supporting 243,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, a report from the Obama administration said last falls government shutdown resulted in nearly 8 million fewer visitors to national parks, costing them and their surrounding communities an estimated $414 million in lost visitor spending.

Six states received permission to reopen national parks within their borders using state money. The report said those states generated nearly $10 in visitor spending for every dollar spent. Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New York, South Dakota and Tennessee all reopened parks.

A bill is pending in Congress to reimburse those states.

 
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