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Visitors spent $700M in Arizona’s national parks

The Colorado River flows through the Grand Canyon. A federal study found that fish in the Grand Canyon and 20 other national parks in the West have trace amounts of mercury. (U.S. Geological Survey Photo)

The Colorado River flows through the Grand Canyon. (U.S. Geological Survey Photo)

A new report shows that visitors to Arizona’s national parks last year spent more than $700 million.

The National Park Service says more than 10 million visitors brought in economic benefits for areas surround the state’s 20 parks.

The study estimates that the spending supported at least 11,700 jobs across the state.

The state’s national park attractions include the Grand Canyon and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

The study, which was released Friday, showed nationally that tourism brought back $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service.

More than 273 million visitors nationwide spent $14.6 billion directly on parks and nearby “gateway” communities.

The report’s authors say a decline in visitation from 2012 was mostly due to the 16-day government shutdown in October 2013.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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