KNHP economic impact defined

CALUMET TOWNSHIP – National Park Service officials recently reported the economic impact to the local economy provided by the Keweenaw National Historical Park was about $10 million in 2011.

However, the sequestration of federal funds, which began Monday, may reduce the park’s economic impact this year and beyond.

In a written statement from the NPS dated Feb. 27, calculations show the $10 million was spent in communities throughout the Copper Country, and supported about 100 jobs. Also, according to the written statement, $3 million came from direct federal spending on KNHP budgets and project funding.

Tom Baker, KNHP management assistant, said the $10 million figure for KNHP comes from calculations made based on similarly sized parks.

“We extrapolated that from the report from the National Park Service,” he said. “This was a very conservative estimate.”

The report was made by Michigan State University for all of the NPS parks with communities within 60 miles, Baker said.

According to the written statement, NPS visitor spending had a $30 billion impact on the United States economy and supported 252,000 jobs in the country. The jobs supported by that spending included lodging, food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment, other retail, transportation and fuel, and wholesale and manufacturing.

Because members of Congress and President Barack Obama were not able to agree on how to avoid spending cuts forced by the Budget Control Act passed in August 2011, the sequestration, or mandatory cuts, which will total $1.2 trillion, began Monday. Unless members of Congress can agree on a way to prevent further spending cuts, they could continue until 2021.

Mike Pflaum, KNHP superintendent, said for an article in the Friday edition of The Daily Mining Gazette, the sequestration will force reductions in or elimination of some programs and services in the park.

Because of those expected cuts, Baker said there will be a negative effect on the local financial impact of the the park.

“Absolutely,” he said. “It can’t help but affect it.”

Baker said Pflaum was expected to have a telephone conversation Monday with NPS Midwest Regional Director Mike Reynolds in Omaha, Neb., about what cuts will need to be made in KNHP.