Gatineau Park bringing plenty of green, economic study finds

Gatineau Park is a natural wonder that also contributes a significant amount of green to the country's economy, according to a new study released by the National Capital Commission.

According to the study by market research firm Environics, the park generates $241 million toward Canada's gross domestic product each year.

The study, conducted between September 2015 and August 2016, pegged revenue from park visits at $184 million annually. Most of that money was spent on restaurants, recreational equipment or services, and shopping.

Visits down

It's estimated more than 600,000 people visited Gatineau Park from September 2015 to August 2016, with more than 2.6 million individual visits during that time.

Those numbers appear to be down slightly from five years earlier when a similar survey showed 703,500 visitors and 2.7 million visits.

According to the study released Tuesday 90 per cent of the visits last year were by residents. One-half of the remainder credited the park with drawing them to the National Capital Region, especially during the winter months. 

The study found hiking was the most popular activity during spring, summer and fall, while cross-country skiing lured the most visitors during winter months.

The authors estimated the park creates the equivalent of 4,728 full-time jobs.

Environics looked at data collected during more than 5,000 interviews conducted inside the park, 1,761 online surveys and 1,501 telephone surveys of local residents.