[Coral-List] Preliminary Data Shows Americans Spent $120 billion on Wildlife Related Recreation in 2006

Susan_White at fws.gov Susan_White at fws.gov
Tue Jun 19 08:25:11 EDT 2007

interesting data on Americans' outdoors recreation habits.


Contact: Nicholas Throckmorton, 202/208-5634

America’s passion for wildlife and the outdoors continues to be a major
engine of the nation’s economy, according to preliminary survey data
released today by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In 2006, more than 87 million Americans, or 38 percent of the United
States’ population age 16 and older hunted, fished or observed wildlife.
They spent $120 billion that year pursuing those activities – an amount
roughly equal to Americans’ total spending at all spectator sports,
casinos, motion pictures, golf courses and country clubs, amusement parks
and arcades combined.

“This very important survey shows in real economic and participatory terms
the impact that wildlife has on the nation’s economy, but simply talking
about dollars and cents doesn’t fully capture the importance of wildlife 
our nation. Wildlife related recreation rejuvenates our spirit and gets us
outside pursuing healthy activities,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Director H. Dale Hall at the Outdoor Writer Association of America’s 
conference in Roanoke, Va. “Americans should be proud that the outdoor
tradition continues to be such a prevalent part of our lives.”

Preliminary data from the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and
Wildlife-Associated Recreation shows the importance of wildlife-related
recreation to the American people.  Of all Americans age 16 or older,

·     30 million or 13 percent fished and spent $41 billion on their
·     12.5 million or 5 percent hunted and spent $23 billion, and
·     71 million or 31 percent observed wildlife and spent $45 billion.

The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation
has been conducted every 5 years since 1955 and is one of the nation’s 
important wildlife recreation databases.  It is considered to be the
definitive source of information concerning participation and expenditures
associated with hunting, fishing and other forms of wildlife recreation

The Survey is conducted at the request of State fish and wildlife agencies
and is funded by grants from the Multistate Conservation Grant Program.  A
wide range of individuals and groups depend on the Survey to analyze
participation rates, economic impacts of expenditures, demographic
characteristics, and trends in participation and activities.

“This expenditure of $120 billion highlights the benefits of these
activities on national and state economies,” said Survey economist Jerry
Leonard.  “It is roughly equivalent to one out of every one hundred 
of goods and services produced in our economy.  And much of this activity
occurs in places which rely significantly on wildlife-related recreation
expenditures for their economic well being.”

After losing ground in the early 1990s, wildlife-related activities such 
bird watching and photography increased 13 percent over the last decade.
In 1996, 62.9 million Americans observed wildlife; 66.1 million did so in
2001, and 71.1 million in 2006.  Wildlife watchers spending increased 19
percent, from $37.5 billion in 1996, $43.7 billion in 2001 to $44.7 
last year.

The preliminary data shows decreases in both angling and hunting
participation from 1996 to 2006.  In 1996, 35.2 million anglers fished
compared to 34.1 million in 2001 and 30.0 million in 2006, representing a
15 percent decline in participation of the ten year span.

“Participation levels in 2006 were likely reduced due to several factors:
higher gas prices, hurricanes, the increasing age of baby boomers, and
continuing urbanization,” said Leonard.

Anglers spent $40.6 billion last year, which is similar to 2001 but 16
percent lower than 1996.    While overall spending—including trips, 
equipment, special equipment, and other related items—was flat from 2001 
2006, spending on fishing equipment such as rods and reels and
travel-related items such as food and lodging were up.

For hunting, there was a 10 percent decline in participation from 1996 to
2006.  In 1996, 14.0 million Americans hunted compared to 13.0 million in
2001 and 12.5 million in 2006.  Hunters spent $22.7 billion last year, 3
percent lower than 2001 and 14 percent lower than 1996.  Similar to
fishing, while overall spending was down, expenditures on hunting 
such as rifles and ammunition were up 3 percent since 2001.

It is important to note that the National Survey is a snapshot for the
specific year in which it is conducted and does not necessarily represent
the total number of anglers, hunters, and wildlife watchers in the U.S.
because they do not consistently participate every year.  For example,
examination of survey data shows that over the five year period from 2002
to 2006, cumulatively over 44.4 million fished and 18.6 million hunted.
However, this information serves as a valuable tool to gauge general 
in the participation of Americans in wildlife related activities and
related expenditures.

The report is available at < <http://library.fws.gov/nat_survey2006.pdf>.

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 97-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
System, which encompasses 547 national wildlife refuges, thousands of 
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 and Native American tribal governments
with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance
program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes
on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.


News releases are also available on the World Wide Web at 

Questions concerning a particular news release or item of
information should be directed to the person listed as the
contact. General comments or observations concerning the
content of the information should be directed to Malcomb Barsella 
(malcomb_barsella at fws.gov) in the Office of Public Affairs.

><>   ><>   ><>   ><>   ><>   ><>   ><>   ><>   ><>   ><>
Susan White
Deputy Refuge Supervisor - Florida
National Wildlife Refuge System, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
ph:     404-679-7224,    fx:  404-679-4082
cell:   239-209-1976,    email:  susan_white at fws.gov
><>   ><>   ><>   ><>   ><>   ><>   ><>   ><>   ><>   ><>

"We must all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang 
separately."  - Ben Franklin

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