Ridge as Economic Driver
By Warren Wiegand
From Issue 7: Summer 2010
A newly-released economic study determined that the preserved open space on the Shawangunk Ridge serves as an important economic engine for our community, creating jobs, driving tourism-spending and contributing $12.3 million to the local economy.
“Study of the Economic Impact on the Local Economy of Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Mohonk Preserve and Sam’s Point Preserve,” was written by Business Opportunities Management Consulting of Rensselaer, N.Y.. It used Money Generation Models developed for the National Park Service to determine the economic impacts these public parks have on the region, driven by visitor spending, employee spending and operations and capital expenses. Key findings include the facts that Minnewaska, Mohonk and Sam’s Point host a combined 392,659 visitors who spend over $13 million annually, and that the three parks generate annual local sales taxes totalling $459,000 and provide over 350 local jobs. The total economic impact of the parks is $12,307,593.
According to Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach, “The [parks] are great examples of ‘clean and green’ contributors to the economy. In addition to benefitting the local tourism market, this study demonstrates their positive impact on jobs and sales taxes.”
In March 2010, a report by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli came to a similar conclusion on open space. “Economic Benefits of Open Space Preservation” noted that “rather than conflicting with other goals, open space preservation can provide significant economic benefits.” The report goes on to describe the benefits of open space preservation on regional economic growth through promoting industry, such as agriculture, forestry and tourism, contributing to increased land and property values, maintaining aesthetic values and offering outdoor recreational opportunities.