A new economic study finds that outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania, including hunting and fishing, generated $26.9 billion in 2016—that’s $2.2 billion more than the construction industry. The state’s wealth of natural resources and rich outdoor traditions also supported more than 390,000 jobs, where Pennsylvanians earned $17 billion in salaries and wages.
The research, conducted by Southwick Associates for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership showed that 780,000 state residents hunted and 1.3 million went fishing in 2016. This group spent nearly $1.3 billion to pursue their passions, supporting nearly 20,000 jobs, $800 million in salaries and wages, and more than $300 million in local, state, and federal tax revenue.
Additionally, 370,000 jobs in Pennsylvania were supported by other outdoor recreation activities, including biking, camping, and off-roading.
“Economic activity generated by outdoor recreation is too powerful to ignore,” says Derek Eberly, Pennsylvania field representative for TRCP. “That’s why our local, state, and federal decision-makers should prioritize legislation that helps conserve the fish and wildlife resources that outdoor recreation businesses rely on to employ and serve Pennsylvanians.”
The Environmental Stewardship Fund is a good example. This important state program helps to preserve open spaces, improve working lands, and clean up abandoned mines that could endanger habitat. But the ESF has seen drastic budget cuts in recent years, from a budget of roughly $200 million per year in the mid-2000s to less than $60 million this year.
The TRCP and other groups plan to advocate for better investments in conservation through increased funding for this program and others in the state.