Kind Outlines Report Focusing on Wildlife Refuge Economic Activity
For the City-Times
Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind is highlighting a new report that details the substantial economic activity generated by our national wildlife refuges.
“Our national wildlife refuges offer spectacular natural beauty and critical habitat for wildlife. But they are also economic engines that create jobs in local communities,” Kind said. “Making investments in our natural resources provides a valuable return in Wisconsin and across the country.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently released “Banking on Nature,” a report that describes the profound economic impact that the nation’s 561 national wildlife refuges have on local economies. In 2011 (the most recent data available), 46.5 million people visited refuges, representing a near 30 percent increase over five years. Spending by these visitors generated $2.4 billion of sales in regional economies, and approximately $342.9 million in tax revenue at the local, county, state and federal level.
Wisconsin enjoys tremendous economic benefits from national wildlife refuges. At western Wisconsin’s Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge, for example, there were 4.4 million visits in 2011 resulting in $101.9 million spent. A full 68 percent of that spending came from non-local visitors. The local economic impact associated with these visits includes 1,394 jobs, $47 million in employment income, and $20.4 million total tax revenue. The refuge offers activities ranging from hunting and fishing to bird watching and bicycling.
“We are fortunate to have the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, as well as the refuges in Trempealeau and Necedah, right here in our region,” concluded Rep. Kind. “We need to continue protecting and investing in our refuges here at home and in public lands across the U.S., to keep local economies strong and to ensure that our open spaces can be enjoyed by future generations.”
The full report can be read here.