Cape Lookout lights up area economy

cape lookout

The Cape Lookout Lighthouse stands as a beacon for tourists, 480,000 of whom visited the national seashore in 2012, according to an economic report.

Ken Buday/Havelock News
Published: Monday, March 31, 2014 at 06:01 PM.

As spring arrives, so does the annual influx of visitors to one of the area’s favorite destinations.

While stopping at Cape Lookout National Seashore, they will climb Cape Lookout Lighthouse, watch for the wild horses that roam Shackleford Banks and fish and comb the unspoiled barrier island beaches for seashells.

During their visit, many will also shop at local businesses, dine at local restaurants and stay a night or two at area hotels and vacation rentals. They may even spend the night at one of the seashore’s rustic cabins.

According to a new National Park Service report, more than 480,000 people visited Cape Lookout National Seashore in 2012, spending $20.9 million in the area during their stay.

“Park visitation generated more than $20 million in spending, from food to various services, and that’s a lot of money going into the community,” said Pat Kenney, Cape Lookout National Seashore superintendent.

That visitor spending supported 297 jobs in local communities surrounding the Carteret County park, according to the report.

“For every dollar invested, the National Park Service returns $10 to the United States economy. That’s a pretty good return on investment,” Kenney said.

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