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New Report: There's Cash in Iowa's Public Acres

December 26, 2007

Washington, DC – Hunting and fishing in Iowa are more than fun and relaxing pastimes -- they're also big money-makers for the state. A new report finds that the value of public lands in Iowa goes beyond protecting the environment and wildlife for future generations.

Melinda Gable, of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, says there also is substantial economic value to these open spaces. The group found that more than a half-million hunters and anglers add $661 million a year to the Iowa economy.

"The economic impact that hunting and fishing activities have on a state goes 'way beyond just their spending. It's jobs they support; it's local taxes and state taxes as well, that the spending generates."

Gable agrees there's a temptation to use public lands for other things, which makes it important for states to see their value to sportsmen.

"As more and more land gets developed, that has an impact on activities such as hunting and fishing. So yes, I think we definitely need to make sure we're protecting these areas."

Gable says, in good times and bad, sportsmen drive the economy, from big sporting goods firms to small businesses in rural towns. She says hunters and anglers directly support 12,000 jobs in Iowa, which is more than some of the state's largest employers.

For a look at how Iowa and other states stack up in terms of the economic value of these outdoor sports, the complete report is available online, at www.nssf.org/07report.

Dick Layman/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - IA