By Dillon Tabish, 2-29-12
||Caption: Local Fish, Wildlife and Parks game warden Perry Brown in the field last fall. - File photo Lido Vizzutti/Flathead Beacon
"A ﬁnancial investment with a good return may be diﬃcult to ﬁnd for awhile, but now is still a great time to invest in Montana’s outdoors," Gov. Brian Schweitzer says in the opening of this year's Fish, Wildlife and Parks annual report for 2011.
Indeed, our state's natural amenities are worth investing in. Not only are the outdoors a big reason many of us live here, they are a major economic driver. A new National Park Service report shows that more than 2 million visitors in 2010 spent almost $110 million in Glacier National Park and in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,695 jobs in the local area, according to the report.
The overall picture of Montana's outdoors - from economic impacts to habitat and wildlife changes - is detailed in the latest annual report from the FWP. It's an interesting read, and contains several eye-opening pieces of information. Read the full report here.
Here are a few snippets that stood out to me:
— Grizzly bears are pushing on to the plains of Montana as their numbers increase. About 900 grizzly bears inhabit in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem from Glacier National Park to the southern border of the Bob Marshall
— For the ﬁrst time ever some nonresident big game hunting opportunities were not claimed in 2011. FWP’s total loss of revenue from nonresident combination licenses was $759,205.
— The Future Fisheries Review Panel and the FWP Commission approved funding for 30 restoration projects totaling $850,000. This funding will generate $1.52 million in matching contributions.
— During the hunting seasons, wardens issued 6,880 verbal warnings; wrote 2,459 warnings and 4,580 citations; and participated in more than 900 hunter education and public presentations
— In 2011, TIP-MONT paid out more than $16,000 in rewards and received about 2,000 calls for the year. Many callers decline a reward.
— More than 1.2 million people visited Montana State Parks from May-August— a slight increase over the past ﬁve year’s average. Giant Springs State Park hosted the most visitors last summer with more than 146,000 visits.
— Pine Grove Pond ﬁshing access site was completed thanks to a donation by the Street Family. The donation included 13 acres northeast of Kalispell near the Whiteﬁsh River, including a 5- acre pond.
RELATED: Preserving the Hunt
RELATED: Policing the Woods
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