Date of this Version
Jorgensen, J.G., M.B. Brown and L.R. Dinan. 2015. Evaluating birding tourism markets in Nebraska. Nongame Bird Program of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Lincoln, NE.
In recent years, the number of non-consumptive (non-hunting, non-fishing) wildlife recreationists and their economic impact have increased in the United States. In 1996, surveys indicated there were more wildlife watchers than hunters and anglers combined (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Department of Commerce 1997). According to the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation commissioned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there were over 48 million birdwatchers age 16 or older in the United States in 2006 (Carver 2009), which was approximately 21 percent of the U.S. population at the time of the survey (La Rouch 2003, Carver 2009). The same study estimated the annual economic impact of birdwatching in the United States at $82 billion. In Nebraska, 18% of the state’s population reportedly participated in birdwatching of some form (passive or intensive) in 2011 (Carver 2013). The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (U.S. Department of Interior et al. 2011) reported 143,000 individuals took trips specifically to view wild birds in Nebraska in 2011. The annual Sandhill Crane migration spectacle along the Platte River in central Nebraska is estimated to contribute $10.33 million to Nebraska’s economy every year (Edwards and Thompson 2009).