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Study Shows Wildlife Refuges, Outdoor Pursuits Provide Jobs and Trillion Dollar Boost to U.S. Economy

Laguna Atascosa NWR
Fishing at Laguna Atascosa NWR in Texas | USFWS

Washington DC- A study commissioned to determine the economics associated with natural resources conservation reveals America’s great outdoors is doing its share of providing a boost to local economies through jobs and economic activity.

“This recent study demonstrates what we in the conservation arena have been saying for years,” said Evan Hirsche, president of the National Wildlife Refuge Association. “Conservation, recreation and preservation of America’s tremendous natural resources provide economic benefits to communities far greater than most Americans can imagine.”

Recreational use on national wildlife refuges generated nearly $1.7 billion in economic activity during fiscal year 2006, Hirsche said. That activity continues to grow each year, he said.

“It costs the federal government just $3.28 per acre to manage our nation’s Refuge System, but the Refuge System generates $65.6 for every $1 appropriated for refuges in ecosystem services and over $4 for every $1 appropriated in economic activity, he said. “This proves that our national wildlife refuges, along with other conservation efforts, are some of the best investments in the world”

Hirsche said the recent study, conducted by Southwick Associates, shows hunters, anglers, conservationists and others who work in the outdoors and those who enjoy America’s natural resources contribute more than $1 trillion to the U.S. economy annually. “The study also shows,” he said, “more than 9.4 million jobs are a direct result of the outdoors.”

The value of the ecosystem services in America’s national wildlife refuges totals $32.3 billion annually. “That equates to $2,900,000 per acre per year,” Hirsche said.

The economic impact of the nearly 44.5 million refuge visits so far in 2011 is more than $1.5 million, he said. “With an estimated employment impact of more than 32,500 jobs, Hirsche said, “that impacts local economies by nearly $4.2 million so far in this year alone.”

The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge Association is to conserve America’s wildlife heritage for future generations through strategic programs that protect, enhance, and expand the National Wildlife Refuge System and the landscapes beyond its boundaries that secure its ecological integrity.

For Immediate Release: October 14, 2011. Contact: Evan Hirsche, (202) 292-2421, ehirsche@refugeassociation.org.

Permanent link to this article: http://refugeassociation.org/2011/10/refuges-provide-jobs-and-boost-to-economy/