The National Park Service (NPS) celebrates its 100th anniversary Aug. 25. Earlier this summer a new study put an overall value on the more than 400 national parks, monuments, scenic rivers, and historic sites in the NPS system. It asked a representative group of Americans if it was “important to me that National Parks are preserved for current and future generations whether I visit them or not.” Their reply: 94.9 percent agreed.
The survey also asked respondents to say how much extra they would be willing to pay annually in taxes over a 10-year period to ensure the existence of the national parks. The answer: $92 billion. The report went on to note that this “total economic valuation,” as economists call it, was a “conservative” estimate of the parks’ true value.