ONEIDA, Tenn. (AP) — The National Park Service reported Friday that visitors to Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area last year spent $24.3 million in communities near the park. Big South Fork had 773,000 visitors, and their spending supported 295 jobs in the local area, according to a news release from the park.

Big South Fork Superintendent Niki Stephanie Nicholas said the park has been safely increasing access since the beginning of the pandemic.

“We welcome people back to the park and are excited to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides,” she said in a news release.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists with the National Park Service and the US Geological Survey. It put total spending in gateway communities surrounding all the national parks at more than $14.5 billion, supporting 194,400 jobs. The cumulative benefit to the US economy was $28.6 billion.