Refuge Has Major Economic Impact - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Refuge Has Major Economic Impact

Refuge Has Major Economic Impact

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How much is a fishing trip worth?

How about a leisurely drive to look at wildlife?

Or a school trip to learn about duck banding?

The Fish and Wildlife Service has been adding up the economic impact of wildlife refuges around the nation.

And, as Jim Olson reports, a North Dakota refuge was among those studied.

The beautiful scenery, the ducks and geese, the educational opportunities - they're all part of J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge near Upham.

And they pack a significant punch for the economy of this rural area.

(Frank Durbian, Souris Basin NWR Complex Project Leader) "For every $1 appropriated, we contributed $2.77 to the economy which relates to about $4.3 million put into the local economy."

That number comes from a US Fish and Wildlife Service study called Banking on Nature. It looked at the economic impact of 92 of the more than 550 refuges in the nation, including Clark Salyer. The report looked at visitor spending for food, lodging, transportation, and other expenses.

(Frank Durbian, Souris Basin NWR Complex Project Leader) "The people who come here to hunt, use the canoe trail, observe nature, all the wildlife dependant recreational opportunities that we have out here."

Frank Durbian says there are many ways the public can use the refuge - from learning about the birds they'll see on the site through displays in the refuge information center, to driving the self-guided trail, to hunting and fishing. And all of those activities lead to an impact on the economy.

(Frank Durbian, Souris Basin NWR Complex Project Leader) "It's just one of the many things we do for the local community that a lot of people don't realize or think about or ponder that people come here and need gasoline, food, lodging, spending money on ammunition and fishing lures and that all contributes to the local economy and a lot of people just don't realize that."

An impact - some 4.3 million dollars per year - that hits home in Bottineau, McHenry, and Ward Counties. At J. Clark Salyer NWR, Jim Olson, KX News.

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