Study Reveals Sustainable Economic Development in Neighboring Communities
Visitor spending in BWCAW neighboring communities extends far beyond expenditures. The total economic output of $77 million generated approximately $14.4 million in local, state and federal taxes. These taxes funnel directly back into these counties for community needs such as road improvement and emergency services.
Another key finding of the study was the impact on jobs in the local communities. Nearly 1,000 full and part time jobs are created through outdoor recreation and nature tourism. These positions span 127 regional industries and provide more than $25 million in income. Some of the industries affected most by visitors are in hospitality, retail and government; employment opportunities that are considered stable and sustainable over time due to the low-impact they have on the BWCAW ecosystem.
"The BWCAW is a unique Wilderness ecosystem that attracts thousands of outdoor recreationists and brings substantial money into rural economies," said Dr. Hjerpe. "This study illustrates that Wilderness visitation can be an essential component of regional economic development, one that preserves the very resource that provides for sustainable streams of income in the region."
The study was conducted with specific parameters to draw precise conclusions on the exact impact out-of-region visitors have on the rural, neighboring communities. Findings were extrapolated from data collected from May to September 2016 and does not include economic impacts from winter visitors, spending from residents or market impacts related to BWCAW art sales, amenity migration effects or property value.
The full study is available for download at bit.ly/BWCAcreatesjobs. For more information on the study or Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, visit www.friends-bwca.org.
About Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness is a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect, preserve and restore the wilderness character of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Quetico-Superior ecosystem, a region that is one of our nation's natural treasures attracting thousands of visitors a year. Founded in 1976, the organization works on raising awareness and conservation efforts for the Boundary Waters Wilderness through advocacy, education and building the next generation of wilderness advocates. For more information, visit www.friends-bwca.org.
About Conservation Economics Institute (CEI)
CEI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization offering clients independent research and analytical services examining the interface of conservation and economics. CEI discovers solutions that are beneficial for both communities and nature, always striving towards sustainability. By providing research, outreach, and expertise, we aim to bring applied economics to inform conservation approaches. To learn more about CEI, visit https://www.conservationecon.org/.
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SOURCE Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness