The Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS), located in the towns of Chatham, Eastham, Orleans, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown, was created by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. The land encompasses over 43,000 acres and nearly 40 miles of seashore. The National Park Service (an agency of the Department of Interior) is responsible for maintaining the Seashore’s pristine condition. The Department’s work is critical to the all-important Cape Cod tourism industry as there were two million National Seashore visits last summer.
The importance of Cape Cod’s beaches is reflected in the number of Department of Interior employees located on the Cape who work to adhere to the Department’s mission of “Protecting and managing the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage.” In fact, 87 of Barnstable County’s 206 federal employees work for the Department of Interior, more than any other federal department on Cape Cod.
With 42 percent of Cape Cod’s federal employees working for the National Park Service, there is a targeted effort to protect the beauty of Cape Cod and its 40 miles of National Seashore that play such a critical role in attracting summer tourists. In fact, all Department of Interior employees on the Cape are located in towns that are part of the Cape Cod National Seashore.
With over $5 million annually dedicated to the salaries of National Park Service employees on Cape Cod, the National Seashore is a clear priority. This is largely due to the economic impact that Seashore visitors have on Barnstable County. A 2014 National Park Service report showed 4,426,750 visitors came to the National Seashore and spent $185.5 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 2,421 jobs in the area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $232.9 million. Thanks to its commitment to the National Seashore, the Department of Interior is largely responsible for the Cape’s summer economic growth.
Harris Foulkes is a Pioneer Transparency Intern and is a rising freshman at Amherst College where he plans to study economics.