Carlsbad Caverns Economic Case Study 2011

Carlsbad Caverns Economic Impact Study 2011 (NPS Photo by Peter Jones)Carlsbad Caverns National Park
What It Means to Our Economy

The designation of Carlsbad Caverns National Park not only preserved this geologic treasure in perpetuity, it also created a stable jobs engine for Eddy County and greater southeastern New Mexico that continues to churn regardless of the price of oil or the ups and downs of the local and national economies.


In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge designated the caverns a national monument under the Antiquities Act. In 1930, Congress re-designated this “limestone cavern of extraordinary proportions and of unusual beauty” as a national park.


The Park, which consists of more than 117 known caves – all formed when sulfuric acid dissolved the surrounding limestone, offers a variety of tours, seasonal activities and recreational opportunities for the entire family to enjoy. There are also hiking and backcountry camping, ranger programs, and the extraordinary “bat exodus” at dusk in the summer months, when the thousands of Mexican Free-Tail Bats fly out of Carlsbad Cavern.

Economic Impact

In 2008, 400,381 visitors to Carlsbad Caverns National Park spent $22.3 million in the local economy supporting 437 jobs. That means people from around the world and United States visiting the caverns, staying in nearby hotels, eating in local restaurants and spending their money in local shops.

“National Monument status is a big deal for our community. I believe anyone who lives in and loves Carlsbad should be thankful for the Antiquities Act for what it has done for our community. Not only has the act protected the caverns and their natural beauty, it also has meant free tourism advertising for our region as national monuments often make the highlight list of any travel guide, web site or travel blog. It truly has been a blessing.”
Pam Seal, Divine Cottage

“Antiquities Act protection for Carlsbad Caverns gave our community a gift that keeps on giving. As business owners, we now know we have a dedicated stream of visitors who would not be coming if we didn’t have such status.”
Elaine Murphy, Candlewood Cards and Gifts

The New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce is a non-partisan association with more than 1,200 business members dedicated to advocating on behalf of clean energy, seizing the green-business advantage, and supporting local economies. NM Green Chamber of Commerce members believe that responsible businesses invest in people; protect air, land and water; and create long-term sustainable profits.

Download a PDF of this study here.