From the community

Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge Boosts Local Economy Refuge Visits Stimulate Area Sales, Jobs, Taxes

Posted Nov. 06, 2013, at 8:41 a.m.
Last modified Nov. 06, 2013, at 9:15 a.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge generated almost $7.9 million for Washington, Hancock, Knox, and Sagadahoc Counties in Maine in Fiscal Year 2011, according to a new economic analysis. The benefit – which includes retail sales, taxes and job income – came from visitor spending tied to recreation activities on the refuge.

The refuge returned $5.13 for every $1 appropriated, calculated in 2011 dollars.

The figures come from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study, called Banking on Nature, which used 92 of the more than 550 national wildlife refuges for its economic sampling.

Wildlife refuges pumped $2.4 billion into the economy and supported more than 35,000 private-sector jobs in Fiscal Year 2011. Refuges contributed an average $4.87 in total economic output for every $1 appropriated and produced nearly $793 million in job income for local communities. The refuges are part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the Service.

“Our National Wildlife Refuge System is the world’s greatest network of lands dedicated to wildlife conservation but is also an important contributor to our economy, attracting more than 46 million visitors from around the world who support local restaurants, hotels, and other businesses,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “Every dollar we invest in our Refuge System and other public lands generates huge dividends for our country.”

Some recreation activities on Maine Coastal Islands Refuge are wildlife viewing and photography. In addition to the Refuge’s downeast mainland units, which offer trails and hunting, refuge islands host a majority of terns, puffins and other seabird nesting colonies in Maine; these are often a destination for commercial tour boats.

Researchers examined visitor spending in four areas − food, lodging, transportation and other expenses (such as guide fees, land-use fees and equipment rental). Local economies were defined as those within 50 miles of each of the 92 refuges studied.

Learn more about the study here: http://1.usa.gov/185tp06

Learn more about visitor opportunities at Maine Coastal Islands Refuge here: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/maine_coastal_islands/

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The National Wildlife Refuge System protects wildlife and wildlife habitat on more than 150 million acres of land and water from the Caribbean to the Pacific, Maine to Alaska. Refuges also improve human health, provide outdoor recreation and support local economies. Visit our homepage at www.fws.gov/refuges. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel, and download photos from our Flickr page.

Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge

9 Water Street

PO Box 1735

Rockland, ME 04841

Phone: (207) 594-0600

Email: beth_goettel@fws.gov

Contact: Beth Goettel, Refuge Manager, (207) 594-0600 ext. 2

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