Ducks Unlimited encouraged by Jewell’s emphasis on value of national parks, wildlife refuges

In the wake of the government shutdown, Ducks Unlimited is encouraged that Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell is speaking out about the value of our public lands. Jewell hosted a luncheon at the National Press Club this afternoon to discuss the importance of these resources.

“Secretary Jewell is shining a spotlight on the economic worth of national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands, and I thank her for that,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “Sportsmen and women spent more than $144 billion on wildlife-related activities in 2011 and they depend on these lands for all or much of their hunting season. Limiting or denying access to public lands will hurt our nation’s economy.”

Visits to lands managed by the Department of the Interior resulted in more than 316,000 jobs and nearly $25 billion in economic impacts to the surrounding communities, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. The National Park Service estimates that $32 million would be lost each day if budget cuts shut down the parks.

“Conservation programs taking place on public lands and refuges help make outdoor recreation opportunities possible,” said Paul Schmidt, DU chief conservation officer. “Congress has proposed the elimination of some conservation grant programs such as theNorth American Wetlands Conservation Act, which exacerbates the long-term trend of declining federal investment in natural resources. Conservation programs provide the economy with a net profit while preserving our natural resources and Congress must provide adequate funding for them.”

Outdoor recreation, natural resource conservation, and historic preservation provide a minimum $1.7 trillion in economic impact in the United States and provide more than $200 million in federal, state and local tax revenue. The industry also supports 12.8 million jobs, which can’t be exported due to their nature.