Wildlife Watching Larger Economic Sector than Public Lands Grazing in the West

Wildlife watching-not including hunting and fishing-contributes more income and employs more people than public lands grazing in the West.

In 1996, more than 62 million people participated in wildlife watching nationally, which refers to nonharvesting activities such as observing, feeding and photographing wildlife. This figure of 62 million includes only primary participants in wildlife watching--those whose principal motivation for a trip, activity, or expenditure is to watch wildlife.

In 1996, wildlife watchers spent $29.2 billion on travel, lodging, food and drink, and equipment to pursue their hobby across the country, including in small western towns that were founded on grazing. Their expenditures generated $85.4 billion in total industrial output, resulting in 1,010,590 full and part-time jobs, with wages and salaries totaling $24.2 billion and an average annual income of $23,931 per job. [Source Data] Compare the economic contributions of wildlife watching to public lands grazing in the eleven western states.


Table A. Wildlife-watching Expenditures and Economic Impacts, State and National Totals, 1996
(dollar amounts in millions)

State
Expenditures / Sales
Output
Jobs
Job Income
State Sales Tax Revenue
State Income Tax Revenue
Federal Income Tax

Arizona

$426.9
$692.5
10,230
$200.3
$21.3
$5.0
$31.6

California

$2,123.6
$3,677.5
47,716
$1,131.9
$127.4
$45.1
$178.6

Colorado

$786.2
$1,368.9
19,784
$402.5
$23.6
$13.9
$63.5

Idaho

$120.3
$196.2
4,126
$58.0
$6.0
$2.5
$9.1

Montana

$212.4
$328.5
$5,962
$82.5
$0.0
$3.2
$13.0

Nevada

$143.6
$219.6
3,029
$68.8
$9.3
$0.0
$10.8

New Mexico

$223.2
$366.3
6,093
$100.2
$11.2
$3.2
$15.8

Oregon

$406.7
$710.6
11,759
$216.1
$0.0
$12.6
$34.1

Utah

$225.8
$381.1
6,749
$115.7
$10.7
$4.8
$18.3

Washington

$875.3
$1,452.2
21,454
$426.9
$56.9
$0.0
$67.4

Wyoming

$217.5
$316.7
6,193
$82.8
$8.7
$0.0
$13.1

Table B. Economic Impacts as Percentage of State Totals, 1996

State
Total Output as
Percentage of Gross State
Product
Generated Employment
as Percentage of Total
State Employment
Generated Employment
Income as Percentage of
Total State Wage and
Salary Disbursements
Arizona
0.69%
0.51%
0.38%
California
0.39%
0.34%
0.26%
Colorado
1.28%
0.97%
0.70%
Idaho
0.76%
0.77%
0.47%
Montana
1.83%
1.53%
1.01%
Nevada
0.47%
0.34%
0.27%
New Mexico
0.90%
0.81%
0.57%
Oregon
0.90%
0.75%
0.52%
Utah
0.86%
0.67%
0.47%
Washington
0.95%
0.82%
0.55%
Wyoming
1.82%
2.61%
1.53%

Source: Caudill, J. and A. Laughland. 1998. 1996 National and State Economic Impacts of Wildlife Watching. USDI-Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Economics. Arlington, VA. (citations omitted). [Source Data]