Park stokes economy and science
Shenandoah National Park has received notable attention this year as it celebrates its 75th anniversary, including Lisa Provence’s article [July 14: “Secrets of Shenandoah”]. My hope is that we can all use the remainder of the anniversary year as an opportunity to honor the sacrifices made by mountain residents as the park was being established– as well as appreciate the tremendous value Shenandoah provides today.
The idea of Shenandoah National Park was promulgated by Virginia businessmen who recognized the economic benefits of establishing a national park in the east. And they were right. The National Park Service estimates (conservatively) that Shenandoah infuses some $70 million annually into the economies of its neighboring communities: most people who visit the national park also visit and spend money in nearby cities and counties.
Of course, Shenandoah National Park is more than just a financial asset. It offers premier recreation opportunities, harbors significant historical resources and conducts vital scientific research. We in this area are incredibly fortunate to have one of the country’s most visited national parks in our own backyard.
Susan R. Sherman
The author is Executive Director of the Shenandoah National Park Trust.