ROME — Fort Stanwix National Monument supported 78 jobs in the local economy in 2017, 10 more than the previous year, according to a new report from the National Park Service.
There also were 106,936 visitors to the monument in 2017, which Rome Mayor Jacqueline Izzo attributes partly to the Erie Canal bicentennial celebration, but also to the efforts of the park service to draw in people.
“Last year with the bicentennial of the canal, it brought more people to our area because they were wanting to see where the canal started, I think because of that they probably found the fort,” she said. “But, I think that visitorship at the national parks is increasing across the country, so the exposure that they’re getting, as far as their marketing, is touching all the parks.”
The visitors to Fort Stanwix last year spent a total of $5,743,600 in local communities, the report showed. That's up from $5.2 million in 2016 and higher than any year since 2013, when it was $6.7 million.
In total, the fort created $7.2 million in economic benefits last year, the report states, which also is up from $6.4 million in 2016.
Izzo said she hopes to keep that momentum going because the fort is an important piece of the tourism industry in Rome and the entire county.
Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. expressed similar sentiments in a statement about the park service report, calling it a "key economic driver for the region." He also pointed out that Fort Stanwix, in addition to driving tourism, helps educate local students and supports community events.
Fort Stanwix was known as the "fort that never surrendered” because in August 1777, under the command of Col. Peter Gansevoort, troops repelled a siege by British, German, Loyalist, Canadian and American Indian troops and warriors, according to the National Park Service.
The failed siege, along with the battles at Oriskany, Bennington and Saratoga stopped the British from taking the northern colonies. It also led to alliances with France and the Netherlands, according to the park service.
The monument is proud to be able to attract so many visitors, from all over the world, Fort Stanwix Superintendent Frank Barrows said in a news release about the report.
“National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well,” he said in the release. “We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities in Central New York."
Fort Stanwix is one of more than 400 parks in the National Park System. Together, they all had more than 330 million visitors in 2017 and provided $35.8 billion in economic benefit to the country, according to the report.
Contact reporter Samantha Madison at 315-792-5015 or follow her on Twitter (@OD_Madison).