- Associated Press - Sunday, July 20, 2014

COOLIDGE, Ariz. (AP) - Tourists visiting Casa Grande Ruins spent more than $3.5 million last year in the surrounding communities.

A new study released Friday by the National Park Service shows visitors to the popular tourist attraction helped support more than 51 jobs in the local area.

According to the study, more than 65,000 people visited the park in 2013.

The Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is known for its extended network of irrigation canals and was home to an ancient Sonoran desert farming community.

The NPS says 273 million park visitors nationwide directly spent 14.6 billion last year in communities within 60 miles of a national park. The agency says the spending helped support 237,000 jobs nationally. More than 197,000 of those jobs were in gateway communities.

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