BACKGROUND: Economic Impact of Outdoor Recreation
Hunting, fishing, boating, and other outdoor recreation help fuel the economies of Missouri River basin states and the nation. An incredible network of lands, waters, and other natural resources – often with the Missouri River as a focal point – support these activities. According to the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, participation rates for wildlife-related recreation in Missouri River states are the highest in the country. In the region called West North Central (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri), which includes six of the eight Missouri River states:
- Hunting participation among residents is 12 percent (compared with a national rate of 5 percent)
- Fishing participation among residents is 21 percent (compared with 13 percent nationally)
- Around-the-home wildlife-watching rates are 42 percent (compared with a 30 percent national rate).
Although this region has just 7 percent of the nation’s total population, 25 percent of the residents hunt or fish (the highest percentage of a regional population in the country). Participation in wildlife-associated recreation by residents and visitors in the West North Central states totals more than 9 million people per year. Montana adds 950,000 participants each year; Wyoming another 762,000. Annual expenditures for wildlife-associated recreation in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming combined is $8.9 billion. In addition, according to research conducted for the Outdoor Industry Foundation by Southwick Associates, estimated economic activity in West North Central states related to paddling reaches $889 million per year.
Hunting, fishing, paddling, and wildlife watching provide tremendous economic benefits at the state and local levels. And each of these activities depends on clean water and healthy ecosystems.