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Economic Benefits of Wildlife Habitat

Facts about expenditures related to wildlife recreation.

From The Conservation Fund's American Greenways Program Factsheets

Today there are 504 National Wildlife Refuges in all 50 states. Hunting is allowed in 272 of these preserves, most allow fishing and all offer abundant opportunities for non-consumptive wildlife viewing and other outdoor recreational activities which pump money into local economies.

*According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 108 million people, over age 16 take part in wildlife related recreation each year. Annual expenditures by these participants in 1991 were $59 billion, with over $40 million spent on hunting and fishing.

*Americans spend $18 billion a year to watch wildlife, triple what they spend on movies or sporting events. Birdwatchers alone spend $5.2 billion a year according to studies by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

*A study of the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in Hildago County, Texas found that birdwatchers visiting the refuge pumped $14.4 million in to the local economy. A similar study found that birders spent $9.7 million on their hobby while visiting Virginia's Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

*According to a 1994 Roper Survey on Outdoor Recreation, Fishing is the "favorite" recreational activity among men (19%). In 1991, anglers spent $24 billion or an average of $674 each.

*In 1986 alone, 30 million fishermen in the U.S. spent $301 million on licenses and U.S. hunters spent $322 million on licenses.

*A 1988 study found that hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing results in $2.9 billion of annual spending in California alone. This generates $1.6 billion in personal income to California business owners and employees.

*According to the California Office of Economic Research, campers spent over $2 billion in California in 1990. This spending particularly benefits rural areas.

*As open space areas, wetlands are ideal for sports, recreation, education and wildlife viewing. The most popular activities are fishing, boating, birdwatching, photography, swimming, hiking, and wildlife viewing.

*A 1990 study conducted to measure the recreational value of 3 million acres of wetlands in Louisiana found that recreational users of the wetlands spend $118 million annually on wetland related activities

*A survey of expenditures associated with recreational use of Maine's St. Croix River found that anglers spent over four times as much per person per day in the local economy as general vacationers. The Economic Impact of Recreational Use of the St. Croix River, 1987

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