A first-of-its-kind study released recently by The Pew Charitable Trusts and several national sporting groups found that hunting and other wildlife-related recreation on tracts managed by the Bureau of Land Management has a significant economic impact on nearby communities and that these benefits should be considered in land use decisions.
But what is not mentioned is whether the economic impact of RVers camping, exploring, boondocking, bird watching, wildflower viewing, and hiking on BLM land was part of the study. The money these RVers spend on food, fuel, shopping and other activities is part of this economic impact – which is quite substantial.
There are many reasons Americans love their public lands. Many of these wide-open spaces are overseen by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and contain breathtaking vistas and often serve as important habitat for a variety of species. The wildlife on these expanses is a vital economic driver for the rural western United States, whose communities see substantial economic benefit from them, and BLM should consider these economic values when weighing land management decisions.
The study found that hunting, angling and wildlife watching on BLM-managed public lands in 11 western states and Alaska supported 26,500 jobs; generated more than $1 billion in salaries and wages; and produced over $421 million in federal, state, and local tax revenue in 2016.
The study, “Quantifying the Economic Contributions of Wildlife-Related Recreation on BLM Lands,” found that in 2016 wildlife-related recreational visits to these landscapes across the West resulted in more than $3 billion in total economic output—the value of all sales associated with these three types of recreational activities on BLM lands. The study was conducted by the independent firm Southwick Associates and released jointly by Pew, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, the Wildlife Management Institute, Trout Unlimited, the Archery Trade Association, and the American Fly Fishing Trade Association.
Read more from The Pew Charitable trusts.