Perhaps you were among the 53.6 million people who visited national wildlife refuges in 2017.

That count and other refuge visitation details are in a report recently issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

It is strong evidence of the local economic contribution the refuges make.

The report is compiled every five years, this one the sixth in a series began in 1997.

According to the report …..

National wildlife refuges are seen widely as travel-worthy destinations: 83 percent of refuge spending was done by visitors from outside the local area - an increase of 9 percent from the 2011 study.

Trip-related spending generated $3.2 billion of economic output in regional economies — an increase of 20 percent from the 2011 report.

More than 41,000 jobs (up 18 percent from 2011) and $1.1 billion in employment income (up 22 percent) were generated.

The combined economic contribution to communities nationwide is more than six times the $483.9 million appropriated by Congress to the Refuge System in fiscal year 2017.

About 86 percent of total recreation-related expenditures and 81 percent of all visits are generated by non-consumptive activities on refuges (e.g., birding, wildlife photography, hiking, paddling, auto-touring, bicycling, and educational experiences).

You can access the new 32-page summary study here, with expanded details on individual refuges available through the same page:

Have you got a bird tattoo? These people do.

And now for something really different: tattoos of our birds as on display at "The Biggest Week in American Birding festival held in Ohio earlier this summer. It's a short eight-minute video, totally delightful and different. For many of the people in the video, their bird tattoos represent some birding milestone, accomplishment, experience, or victory over adversity. It's presented by Jason Ward. See for yourself:


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This material is taken from the current issue of the bulletin. It is written and edited by Paul Baicich of Great Birding Projects, and Wayne Petersen, director of the Massachusetts Important Bird Areas Program.

It is used with permission. You too can share this material as long as you give credit to its source.