It is no surprise that wildlife viewing and hunting is important to Alaskans and visitors to the state alike. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) commissioned the firm of ECONNorthwest to evaluate data related wildlife activity recorded in 2011. According to the study, wildlife is worth billions to the Alaskan economy.
During 2011, nearly a million households participated in hunting or wildlife viewing in Alaska. Some 23 percent of the trips were related to hunting, while 868,000 households went wildlife viewing. Alaska resident households averaged 30 wildlife related trips per year, mostly connected to hunting. Visitors to the state averaged just over one wildlife viewing trip per year.
A total of $3.4 billion was spent by both residents and visitors on wildlife viewing and hunting activities in 20111. Residents within the state spent about $2 billion on these trips. After considering the economic multiplier effects of this spending, wildlife activities generated $4.1 billion in economic impact, $1.4 billion in payments to labor and supported at least 27,000 jobs.
Doug Vincent-Lang, Director of the Alaska Division of Wildlife Conservation says, “Visitors reported that wildlife is one of the main reasons they visited Alaska and residents said wildlife contributes to their quality of life and reasons for living here. This study demonstrates what many instinctively know: Alaska’s wildlife is important to Alaskans and visitors. Because people value it, they’re willing to spend a lot of money here to hunt, view, and experience wildlife.”
A summary of the wildlife report, The Economic Importance of Alaska’s Wildlife in 2011, is available at the ADF&G website.