An annual National Park Service (NPS) report shows that Glen Canyon National Recreation Area has become one of the National Park System’s top economic drivers. In 2017, the park ranked number nine in economic benefits among the 417 NPS units nationwide. Glen Canyon’s visitation has increased substantially every year, to 4,574,940 annual visitors in 2017 (ranking higher in visitation than more well-known parks such as Yosemite and Yellowstone). Glen Canyon’s visitors spent $361 million and the overall economic output was $425 million. By supporting 5,060 jobs in the local area, Glen Canyon ranked eighth in that category among all 417 NPS units.
Glen Canyon also administers Rainbow Bridge National Monument, whose 108,418 visitors in 2017 spent $6.2 million in communities near the park. Its economic output was just under $7 million. Considered together, these two units of the National Park Service are significant economic drivers and their beneficial impact on local communities continues to grow.
Glen Canyon had 4,574,940 recreation visitors in 2017 — more than doubling 2013 visitation (1,991,924). The numbers were buoyed by an increase in land-based recreationists interested in hiking or other activities, such as at Horseshoe Bend Overlook. What was once a local secret spot has become an iconic tourist destination and is now receiving between 1.4 and 1.5 million visitors a year. When the initial Horseshoe Bend improvements are completed in January 2019 more annual visitors are expected. Glen Canyon’s Escalante, Muley Point and Orange Cliffs areas are also experiencing substantial growth in back-country recreation.