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New report: Conservation, recreation, preservation generate $1 trillion per year for US economy

WASHINGTON — Officials looking for cost-effective ways to stimulate the economy should look no further than out their own windows. Authors of a new economic study say that the great outdoors and historic preservation generate a conservative estimate of more than $1 trillion in total economic activity and support 9.4 million jobs each year.
“As a former Secretary of the Interior, governor, senator and mayor, I have witnessed firsthand how historic preservation, conservation and outdoor recreation result in tremendous benefits to our nation’s economy,” Dirk Kempthorne said. “This study is a valuable tool for reaffirming and quantifying those benefits.”
“Sportsmen put billions of dollars of their own money annually into conservation through the licenses they buy and the excise taxes that they pay on hunting and fishing equipment,” added Lindsay Thomas, a former U.S. congressman and current chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “This combined with the other taxes that are paid through activities associated with outdoor recreation and historic preservation total over $100 billion annually contributed to state and federal coffers.”
Conducted by Southwick Associates, the study is packed with highlights including:

  • In 2006, the total contribution from outdoor sports in the United States was nearly $730 billion per year, generating more than 6.4 million U.S. jobs and $99 billion in federal and state tax revenues. This includes hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking, camping, skiing, paddle sports and bicycling.
  • In 2006, the combined spending effect of hunting, fishing and wildlife watching associated with National Forest Service land totaled $9.5 billion in annual retail sales, supported 189,400 jobs and provided $1.01 billion in annual federal tax revenues.
  • Every $1 million invested in residential historic rehabilitation generates approximately 36 jobs, $1.24 million in income and nearly $200,000 in state and local taxes.
  • In 2010, 15 million visitors to Civil War battlefields managed by the National Park Service in just five states (Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia) generated 7,700 jobs.

“The jobs that our public lands and cultural heritage create are jaw-dropping,” said William H. Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society and co-chair of America’s Voice for Conservation, Recreation and Preservation. “This study is yet more evidence that investing in the environment is good for the fiscal health of our country.”
Commissioned by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the study is being conducted as part of a larger ongoing effort by NFWF to determine the economics associated with natural resource conservation. For more information, visit NFWF’s website at www.nfwf.org. ♦

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