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Virginia State Parks generated more than $226 million in visitor spending in 2017

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VIRGINIA – The waters at Smith Mountain Lake State Park may be calm this time of year. But come spring, business blossoms. 

State parks pumped millions of dollars into Virginia's economy last year. According to a recent report, state parks across the Commonwealth helped generate more than $226 million in visitor spending in 2017. More than $100 million of that came from out-of-state visitors.

"It is an exciting report, and the results reinforce the importance of state parks in the economy and tourism of Virginia," said Craig Seaver, Virginia State Parks director.

Millions of visitors made their way through the parks in 2017, helping support more than 3,000 local jobs. Seaver says the whole 2017 report showed improvements and increases across the board.

"I appreciate their visits and their support of Virginia state parks," said Seaver.

The Virginia State Parks office has been counting on this economic report for three years now.  The research is actually compiled locally at the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business.

"We were traditionally using very historic numbers. But this puts some good science behind the estimates and the numbers of the economic importance of state parks in Virginia," said Seaver.

The parks director is hopeful that 2018 will show even more growth and make it clear that state parks are an important economic engine in the commonwealth. 

According to the manager of Smith Mountain Lake State Park, 2017 was a great year and the park also saw an increase in the number of visitors.

To read the full report, click here.