Activities popular to local public lands, such as fishing, are estimated to generate $4.6 million

A study commissioned by the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association that used areas along the Sandy River showed that the existence of public lands positively impacts the economy.

The 29,000-acre Sandy River Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), which shares a common boundary with the Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness, was chosen for its close proximity to a metropolitan area.

Patrick Johnson, the association’s director of communication and membership, said the study was commissioned because people don’t talk enough about the benefits of public lands.

“Just because something is a public land doesn’t mean it’s a negative on the economy,” he said.

Last year, there was a lot of talk in the U.S. House and Senate about public lands and their funding by the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association felt it was important to show the economic impact brought on by these lands so the policies aren’t deemed unimportant.

According to the study, if the Sandy River ACEC project attracted 5 percent of the total fishing activity within the area, it could be expected to account for 4,640 fishing day trips per year.

But of course it’s not only fishermen who are visiting the area. Swimming, rafting and day hiking are thought to account for a combined additional 8,774 annual day trips.

This activity generates $4.6 million in economic impact. This amounts to $3 million in sales and 50 jobs earning more than $1.6 million in wages. The economic activity then feeds back into the government as tax dollars.

According to the study, “The total economic activity would generate $336,000 in state and local taxes and $388,000 in federal taxes.”

— Kylie Wray

Contract Publishing

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