In 2012, Pennsylvania Sea Grant provided funding and worked with its collaborators to secure additional funding to conduct a Presque Isle State Park Visitor Survey. With its numerous lakefront, beach, and water‐based recreation and environmental educational opportunities, Presque Isle State Park has long been recognized as the crown jewel of Pennsylvania State Parks. Annually, the park attracts over 4.2 million visitors. Despite Presque Isle’s unique position as one of the Commonwealth’s premier destination parks, state park managers and local stakeholders did not have current data on park visitors, their park behaviors, their trip expenditures, or their opinions for improving park experiences. The year-round study, conducted by Penn State University, provided experiential and economic data to guide Presque Isle State park managers and other local stakeholders in future park planning efforts. Our staff facilitated the survey design discussions between the project collaborators, provided on-the-ground project oversight and survey staff, and collected 2,593 surveys from park visitors.
The results of the survey, conducted between May 2012 and May 2013, indicate that overall visitor satisfaction was extremely high, with 99% of visitors being satisfied with their visit. The average total trip expenditure across all visitors was $80.95. Those who traveled 50 miles or more also spent more on sporting goods and outdoor recreation and entertainment than did those who traveled less than 50 miles to visit the park. (Click here to download the full report).
Mowen et al. (2013), based on 2,593 interviews, estimates that the average trip expenditure by visitors to Presque Isle State Park alone is $80.95. Presque Isle State Park, located in northwest Pennsylvania along the southern shore of Lake Erie, receives an estimated 4.2 million visitors annually. Multiplying the expenditure estimates ($80.95/visitor) by the number of visitors to the park (4.2 million), visitors to the park spend approximately $340 million annually.