HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- A new study finds that tourism in the Rocky Mountains' big national parks has provided a boon as the region's economy struggles to recover from recession.
The study released by the National Park Service shows that more than 11 million visitors to Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton and Glacier national parks in 2010 spent $1 billion in surrounding communities.
Those visitors and their money supported 15,412 jobs.
The biggest beneficiaries were the towns in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho near Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Those parks drew 6.3 million visitors who spent $758 million in 2010.
Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash says the study shows just how much of an effect that tourists to the park have, with each visitor contributing more than $90 to the area's economy.