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WILDLIFE RECREATION NATIONAL ECONOMIC FORCE (fwd)



Forwarded message ---------- Date: Thu, 01 May 97 17:16:36 MST 
From: RICH_GREENWOOD@mail.fws.gov 

         BILLIONS AND BILLIONS SPENT:  WILDLIFE-RELATED
       RECREATION CONTINUES TO BE NATIONAL ECONOMIC FORCE

Hunting, fishing, bird watching, and other wildlife-related
recreation continued to be a powerful economic engine in 1996,
with participants spending $96.9 billion in pursuit of these
pastimes and supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs, according
to preliminary data from the Nation's most comprehensive survey
on this subject, conducted every 5 years by the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service.

This represents more than a 59-percent increase in expenditures
since 1991, when the Service last conducted its National Survey
of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Related Recreation, and
accounts for about 1.3 percent of the Nation's gross domestic
product, which measures the size of the economy.
     
"The survey confirms again that it is impossible to separate the
well-being of our Nation's wildlife and wildlife habitat from the
health of our economy," said Acting Service Director John Rogers. 
"Our fish and wildlife are not just a priceless treasure we hand
down from one generation to another, they are the source of jobs
and growth for both the national and local economy from coast to
coast."

The survey, which is conducted for the Service by the U.S. Census
Bureau, showed that the number of hunters and anglers 16 years
and older stayed relatively constant during the past 5 years. 
There were 35.2 million anglers in 1996 compared with 35.6
million in 1991.  Likewise, there were 14 million hunters
compared with 14.1 million in 1991.  Overall, the number of
anglers and hunters fell slightly to 39.7 million from 40 million
in 1991.

Total expenditures by anglers and hunters rose 69 percent during
the 5-year period to $67.9 billion.  Spending by anglers rose 47
percent to $36.2 billion from $24.6 billion in 1991 while hunters
spent $17.7 billion, up 75 percent from $10.1 billion in 1991. 
The remaining expenditures could be attributed to whether hunting
or fishing.

Meanwhile, the number of bird watchers, wildlife photographers,
and other nonconsumptive participants 16 years and older dropped
17 percent during the 5-year period to 63 million from 76 million
in 1991.  Even so, their expenditures rose 39 percent to $29
billion.

Twenty-four million Americans took trips for the specific purpose
of observing, photographing, or feeding wildlife in 1996 while 61
million enjoyed nonconsumptive wildlife-related recreation around
their homes.

In all, 18 percent of the population 16 and older fished during
1996, 7 percent hunted, and 31 percent participated in
nonconsumptive wildlife-related recreation, the study showed.

"Millions of Americans have made hunting, fishing, birdwatching,
and other wildlife-related recreation an important part of their
lives," Rogers said.  "This year's survey confirms that Americans
have a national love affair with wild places and wild creatures."

As part of the survey, the Census Bureau initially screened
80,000 households.  From this, the bureau chose 28,000 sportsmen
and -women and 14,400 nonconsumptive participants 16 years and
older for detailed surveys throughout the year.

More complete preliminary data will be available this summer
followed by a final national report in November.  State-by-state
reports will be released from November through March 1998.

April 30, 1997                          Hugh Vickery 202-208-1456 



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