Big South Fork park significantly contributes to local economy
A new report from the National Park Service (NPS) demonstrates that protecting public lands on the Cumberland Plateau has substantial economic benefits for the region. According to the NPS study, in 2011, the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area (NRRA) attracted 607,000 visitors, who spent $26 million in communities surrounding the park, supporting 388 jobs in the area.
These impressive figures reflect the value of preserving natural landscapes and the importance of the state of Tennessee’s petition to designate 65,000 acres in the nearby North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area as off-limits to surface coal mining. Such designation would also help protect the Big South Fork NRRA from further adverse impacts of surface mining, as the park is located downstream of much of the petition area.
OSM is currently working on a draft environmental study to evaluate the state’s petition, which SELC has supported since it was filed in 2010.