Friday, October 10, 2008

Wildlife Watching in the United States

A new report recently released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows that "expenditures on wildlife watching are equivalent to the amount of revenue from all spectator sports (football, baseball, and other sports), all amusement parks and arcades, casinos (except casino hotels), bowling centers, and skiing facilities."

Using data from the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s new addendum report Wildlife Watching in the United States: The Economic Impacts on National and State Economies in 2006 states, "In addition to contributing significantly to people’s enjoyment of the outdoors, wildlife watching has a substantial impact on the nation’s and states’ economies. The $45.7 billion spent on wildlife equipment and trips in 2006 contributed substantially to federal and state tax revenues, jobs, earnings, and economic output."

In 2006, the direct expenditures of wildlife watchers generated $122.6 billion in total industrial output. This resulted in 1,063,482 jobs, a federal tax revenue of $9.3 billion, and a state and local tax revenue of $8.9 billion. The report details the economic impacts of wildlife watching expenditures by state with South Carolina's being found here. The top five states ranked by economic output include California, Florida, Texas, Georgia and New York. Direct expenditures by wildlife watchers were for items such as cameras, binoculars and bird food, as well as trip-related expenses such as lodging, transportation and food.

The report addresses participation nationwide in wildlife watching, associated expenditures and estimates of the total economic activity generated by these expenditures. In addition, it addresses the total employment and income associated with wildlife watching expenditures and estimates of the generated state and federal tax revenue. In 2006, nearly 71 million Americans (16 years of age and older) spent more than $45 billion observing, feeding, and photographing wildlife.

Come watch the wildlife at either the Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center or the Silver Bluff Audubon Center.

Images by Mark Musselman

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