The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently released a report expounding the virtues of the National Wildlife Refuge System and its economic benefits. The publication, Banking on Nature, revealed something we have known for a long time. About 72 percent of total expenditures are generated by non-consumptive activities on refuges!
Imagine how much money could be generated for our National Wildlife Refuges if only a small percentage of those approximately 33 million non-consumptive visitors had the opportunity to purchase a Wildlife Conservation Stamp for $20. Imagine how proud those conservation minded people would feel knowing that their contribution helped conserve and protect wildlife and habitat.
Here are some of the facts from this USFWS report. The National Wildlife Refuge System1:
- Generates $2.4 billion in sales and economic output, a 20% increase (from 2006)
- Welcomes 46.5 million visitors annually, a 30% increase (from 2006)
- Returns on average $4.87 to a local economy for every $1.00 Congress provides in funding, a 22% increase (from 2006)
- Creates 35,000 jobs annually, a 23% increase (from 2006)
- Produces $792.7 million in job income for local communities
- Generates $342.9 million in local, county, state and federal tax revenue
- Brings tourists from around the nation and world – 77 percent of refuge spending was done by visitors from outside the local area
- Provides a combined economic benefit to communities nationwide that is almost five times the amount appropriated to run the System
David Houghton, President of the National Wildlife Refuge Association states that, “Conservation conserves more than wildlife, it is conserving our tax dollars; an important value for Americans of all political stripes. There is nothing more conservative than conservation or more progressive than preserving our natural world for future generations.”
Support the creation of a Wildlife Conservation Stamp and let’s give our National Wildlife Refuges a huge, new, diverse group of proud contributors to the nation’s wildlife and wild lands.
References: 1National Wildlife Refuge Association Press Release