Hunting, fishing, and wildlife-watching visits to the 246 million acres of land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) across the West support 26,500 jobs and generate more than $3 billion for the U.S. economy, according to a new study focused entirely on the economic contribution of wildlife-related recreation trips to these landscapes.
“Quantifying the Economic Contributions of Wildlife-Related Recreation on BLM Lands” was conducted by the independent firm Southwick Associates and released by a consortium that includes The Pew Charitable Trusts, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Wildlife Management Institute, Trout Unlimited, Archery Trade Association, and American Fly Fishing Trade Association. The study revealed that visits to enjoy wildlife-related recreation in 11 Western states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, as well as Alaska—generated more than $1 billion in salaries and wages in 2016. They also produced over $421 million in state and local tax revenue, and resulted in more than $3 billion in total economic output—the value of all sales associated with these three types of recreational activity on BLM lands. The data underline the importance that wildlife and their public lands habitats convey to communities in the West, and provide an economic basis for maintaining and conserving our wildlife heritage on lands that are often prioritized for other uses.