BOZEMAN, Montana — A recent report says visitors to Yellowstone National Park spent nearly $500 million last year in neighboring towns to the wilderness recreation area.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports a visitor spending analysis by economists with the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey says the figure was about $499 million, a fraction of the $18.2 billion spent nationwide near national parks in 2017.

The report estimates the $499 million supported about 7,350 jobs in towns on the park’s outskirts in Montana and Wyoming.

The figure marks a decline from 2016, when the agency estimated the park’s visitor spending at $524 million.

The report says Montana received $556 million in visitor spending in 2017, good enough for 12th in the nation. That is an increase from 2016, when visitor spending was estimated at $548 million.

Michael Wright can be reached at or at 582-2638. Follow him on Twitter @mj_wright1.