Budget cuts are a reality that everyone is facing, but outdoor conservation issues are seeing more than their fair share of cutbacks.
- In 2009 alone, through the Pittman-Robertson Act and the Dingell-Johnson Act, sportsmen contributed more than $82 million for 1,092 research projects and to operate and maintain nearly 19 million acres of habitat and fisheries projects.
- In 2006, the combined spending effect of hunting, fishing and wildlife watching associated with National Forest Service land totaled $9.5 billion in annual retail sales, supported 189,400 jobs and provided $1.01 billion in annual federal tax revenues.
- The great outdoors and historic preservation generate a conservative estimate of more than $1 trillion in total economic activity and support 9.4 million jobs each year.
Outdoor recreation and historic preservation contributes $1 trillion in total economic activity and supports 9.4 million jobs each year. Yet, programs to enhance our fish, wildlife and wild places, so we can enjoy our outdoor sports, are in constant threat of being under-funded or unfunded altogether.
The recent recession has placed great financial pressure on federal and state funding for wildlife conservation. With budgets being tightened for all federal agencies, programs directly affecting hunters and anglers were hit hard, with significant cuts to Farm Bill Conservation Programs, like the Conservation Reserve Program, and drastic reductions or elimination of funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, Forest Legacy, the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund and the National Fish Habitat Action Plan.
Thankfully, an extremely diverse group of outdoor organizations banded together to ensure that many of these drastic cuts were turned into workable solutions. In 2012, we celebrated the 75 anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program, which has contributed more than $12 billion to conservation. Those dollars come directly from sportsmen.
As our federal government works to create a workable budget for our nation, it’s vital for hunters, anglers, and shooters to know the economic impact of our sports, and the importance of these programs that ensure we’ll have the resources to enjoy them in the future. It is even more critical for us to remind our elected officials of the same thing.