Outdoors recreation in Pennsylvania is big business.
A new economic study of various outdoors pursuits, including hunting and fishing, finds that the pastimes generated nearly $27 billion for the state economy in 2016.
Also, outdoors recreation supported more than 390,000 jobs and $17 billion in salaries and wages, according to the research done by Southwick Associates for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.
The majority of the jobs were in industries that supported such outdoor activities as biking, hiking, camping and off-road driving.
Some 1.3 million state residents went fishing in 2016, and 780,000 pursued hunting, according to the study. Those involved in those two sports spent nearly $1.3 billion, supported nearly 20,000 jobs and generated $800 million in local, state and federal tax revenue.
In Lancaster County, 19,615 fishing licenses were sold in 2018, ranking the county second among all counties.
In 2018, 32,755 hunting licenses were sold in Lancaster County, second-most among all counties in the state.
And there were 12,871 boats registered in the county in 2018, fourth among counties.
“Economic activity generated by outdoor recreation is too powerful to ignore,” said Derek Eberly, a Manheim Township native who serves as Pennsylvania field representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.
“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 group, based in Washington, D.C, is a coalition of organizations that supports hunting and fishing traditions.
The group said the importance of outdoors recreation to the state economy underscores the need to protect Pennsylvania’s natural resources.