Wildlife-related Recreation Remains Strong in Alabama

Trendy sports like roller blading and wind surfing have come and gone, but wildlife-related recreation still remains among the most consistently popular activities in the country, with more than 80 million Americans participating, according to a recent report. In addition, more than $110 billion was spent on fishing, hunting and wildlife watching in 2001, about 1.1 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, according to a study released by the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

“Fishing, hunting and wildlife watching are an indelible part of the American way of life,” said Barnett Lawley, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “More than that, here in Alabama, these activities contribute to our economic well-being every time an angler buys a rod and reel, or a hunter spends money to travel to a favorite duck blind, or a bird-watcher buys a new pair of binoculars.”

Other highlights from the survey regarding hunting and angling include:

·        Retail sales in Alabama totaled $1.6 billion. These sales produced a ripple effect in the state’s economy of more than $3.2 billion.

·        A total of 36,338 jobs were a direct result of hunting and angling in the state, producing salaries and wages of $777 million.

·        On a national level, more than 31 percent of the U.S. population fed, photographed and observed wildlife, and they spent $40 billion on their activities.

“The enjoyment of wildlife is such an integral part of our daily life,” said Corky Pugh, Director of the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Section. “Natural resource conservation and recreation programs contribute significantly to our quality of life, our socio-economic stability, and to our nation’s health and well-being. Without question, the conservation of our natural resources provides a strong foundation for the economy for both this and future generations.”

These latest survey results highlight the importance of state conservation efforts for the U.S. economy. State fish and wildlife agencies protect this sector of the economy by working to enact national legislation to fund wildlife conservation programs that benefit wildlife, outdoor enthusiasts, and the economy. Such funding assists states in meeting escalating demands for outdoor recreation and education opportunities, while ensuring an economic future for the outdoor-related sector of the economy. 

Details of the state survey can be found at www.IAFWA.org. Results of the national report can be found at http://federalaid.fws.gov/surveys/surveys.html. The results are based on data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Census and developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division is a proud member of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which was founded in 1902 as an organization of public agencies charged with the protection and management of North America’s fish and wildlife resources. The association’s governmental members include the fish and wildlife agencies of the states, provinces, and federal governments of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. All 50 states are members. The association has been a key organization in promoting sound resource management and strengthening federal, state, and private cooperation in protecting and managing fish and wildlife and their habitats in the public interest.

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