Friday, November 2, 2012

Don’t Overlook Conservation’s Role in the Economy

By Gaspar Perricone, Co-Director of Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance & John Land Le Coq, Founder of Fishpond, Inc.

Denver’s recent Presidential debate offered discussion on an array of issues intended to answer the question of who is best suited to serve as the leader of our nation. For many of us who live in the West, one topic was mysteriously absent: the candidates’ positions on conservation and public lands. This omission did not go unnoticed.

Neither President Obama nor Governor Romney (nor the moderator) recognized the sportsmen, farmers and ranchers, or environmentalists that have looked after America’s great outdoors for generations. And most germane, they appear to have overlooked the connection between the conservation of our outdoors resources and the economy and jobs.

Throughout the West, jobs and the economy are synonymous with outdoor recreation and conservation. And it’s not just those who spend their weekends in the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains that benefit; it is also a boon for retail trade, manufacturing, and tourism, to name a few. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation supports 6.1 million jobs while generating $646 billion in spending, $39.9 billion in federal tax revenue, and $39.7 billion in state/local tax revenue, with a total economic impact of $1.06 trillion annually. As we continue to fight our way out of the recession, ignoring those kinds of economic numbers doesn’t make sense for either candidate running for President.

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