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The Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228


October 9, 2003
Contact: Nicholas Throckmorton, 202/208-5636

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases
2001 National and State Economic Impacts of Wildlife Watching Report

A new economic report released by the Department of Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that 66 million Americans spent more than $38 billion in 2001 observing, feeding, or photographing wildlife. The new report, called the 2001 National and State Economic Impacts of Wildlife Watching Addendum relied on data collected in the Service’s 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.

"Many Americans enjoy watching wildlife, however we often overlook the positive impact these activities have on state and local economies," said Service Director Steve Williams.

Direct expenditures by wildlife watchers included expenditures for items such as cameras, binoculars and bird food, and for trip-related expenses such as lodging, transportation and food. For each $1 of direct spending associated with wildlife watching, an additional $1.49 of economic activity was generated.

The total industrial output of $95.8 billion resulted in 1,027,833 jobs (full and part time) with total wages and salaries of $27.8 billion.

Wildlife-watching expenditures generated a total state sales tax revenue of $2.1 billion; a total state income tax revenue of $712 million; and a total federal individual income tax revenue of $3.3 billion.

The report examines national participation in wildlife watching, expenditures associated with this activity, economic activity generated by these expenditures, employment created and income associated with expenditures, and associated state and federal tax revenue.

Only participants whose principal motivation for the trip, activity or expenditure is wildlife-related were counted. Residential participants include those whose activities are within one mile of home and nonresidential participants refers to people who take trips or outings of at least one mile. The survey did not include trips to zoos, circuses, aquariums, museums, or for scouting game.

The full report is available on-line at

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.


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