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    Biscayne and Everglades National Parks Welcome City of Homestead Recognition as Gateway City

    Biscayne National Park Superintendent Brian Carlstrom and Everglades National Park Superintendent Dan Kimball welcome the City of Homestead’s resolution naming itself as, “The Gateway to the Everglades and Biscayne National Parks.”  The City of Homestead approved the resolution during the March 20 Homestead City Council Meeting.

    According to Biscayne Park Superintendent Brian Carlstrom, “For decades the City of Homestead’s local businesses have hosted millions of national park visitors, local residents have enjoyed a wealth of recreational opportunities, and local students have studied globally significant ecosystems on field trips. An official designation as a gateway community to Biscayne and Everglades National Parks will enhance the city’s identity, draw tourism, and boost its economy.”

    According to Everglades National Park Superintendent Dan Kimball, “We welcome the City Of Homestead’s recognition of Everglades and Biscayne National Parks.  Visitors from across the U.S. and around the world come here to experience these parks and then spend time and money enjoying the services provided by our neighboring communities and getting to know this amazing part of the country.  The National Park Service is proud to have been entrusted with the care of America’s most treasured places and delighted that the visitors we welcome generate significant contributions to the local, state, and national economy.”

    Homestead City Councilman Stephen R. Shelley, who also serves as an active board member of the Florida National Parks Association, developed the idea along with the National Park Conservation Association.

    “We are one of the only cities in America located between two national parks, we have an exciting opportunity to capitalize on the eco-tourism dollars generated by our unique ecosystems,” said Councilman Stephen R. Shelley, an avid outdoorsman who spends much of his free time fishing or engaging in photography inside the Everglades and Biscayne National Parks. “Solidifying our historic partnership with the Everglades and Biscayne National Parks through this resolution makes our shared mission with the parks of tourism and conservation even stronger.”

    According to a recent National Park Service report, recreational and eco-tourism activities related to the Everglades and Biscayne National Parks contribute millions of dollars each year to the local economies of the surrounding communities.  Every year, close to a million people visit Everglades National Park and spend more than $146 million, supporting nearly 2,000 local jobs in south Florida.  Biscayne National Park is also a global destination which welcomes half a million national and international recreation visitors annually who spend more than $30 million, supporting more than 500 local jobs in south Florida.

    The National Park Service report concludes that nationwide, 279 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park contribute $13 billion of direct spending.  That visitor spending had a $30 billion impact on the entire U.S. economy and supported 252,000 jobs nationwide.  Most visitor spending supports jobs in lodging, food, and beverage service (63 percent) followed by recreation and entertainment (17 percent), other retail (11percent), transportation and fuel (7 percent) and wholesale and manufacturing (2 percent.)

    Image courtesy National Park Service

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