Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

National Wildlife Refuges Give Economic Boost to Local Communities

Nov 05, 2013

November 5, 2013

Contact:  Michael Woodbridge, 916-978-4445



National Wildlife Refuges Give Economic Boost to Local Communities

Visitor Spending in California, Nevada and Klamath Basin Generates More Than $82 Million in Job Income, Sales, Taxes


National wildlife refuges in California, Nevada and the Klamath Basin generated more than $82 million in sales, supported more than 900 private-sector jobs and produced $28.7 million in job income for local communities in Fiscal Year 2011, according to a new economic analysis. The benefit—which includes retail sales, taxes and job income—came from visitor spending tied to recreation activities on refuges.

The peer reviewed report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “Banking on Nature:  The Economic Benefits to Local Communities of National Wildlife Refuge Visitation,” analyzes the economic impact of spending by visitors to the nation’s 561 national wildlife refuges. The refuges are part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the Service. The report used 92 national wildlife refuges nationwide for its economic sampling.

Across the country refuges contributed an average $4.87 in total economic output for every $1.00 appropriated in Fiscal Year 2011.

“This economic study illustrates the tremendous benefits national wildlife refuges bring to the public through wildlife-dependent recreation and other activities available to the public at our refuges,” said Ren Lohoefener, Regional Director for the Service’s Pacific Southwest Region.

National wildlife refuges provide many opportunities to recreate on public lands. Priority wildlife-dependent public uses on refuges include hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing and photography, environmental education and interpretation.

The combined economic contribution to communities nationwide is almost five times the $492 million appropriated to the Refuge System in FY 2011.

“Our National Wildlife Refuge System is the world’s greatest network of lands dedicated to wildlife conservation, but it is also a powerful economic engine for local communities across the country, attracting more than 46 million visitors from around the world who support local restaurants, hotels, and other businesses,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “In addition to conserving and protecting public lands for future generations, the report shows that every dollar we invest in our Refuge System generates huge economic dividends for our country.”

In the Service’s Pacific Southwest Region, which includes California, Nevada and the Klamath Basin in southern Oregon, there are 45 national wildlife refuges and five wildlife management areas encompassing 2.8 million acres.  Of those, four refuges were used in the report’s economic sampling:

Researchers examined visitor spending in four areas − food, lodging, transportation and other expenses (such as guide fees, land-use fees and equipment rental). Local economies were defined as those within 50 miles of each of the 92 refuges studied.

More information about National Wildlife Refuges in the Pacific Southwest Region is available at:

Learn more about the study here:




The National Wildlife Refuge System protects wildlife and wildlife habitat on more than 150 million acres of land and water from the Caribbean to the Pacific, Maine to Alaska. Refuges also improve human health, provide outdoor recreation and support local economies. Visit our homepage at Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel, and download photos from our Flickr page.