Wildlife in Maryland draws big bucks

January 23, 1994|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,Staff Writer

The state Department of Natural Resources reports that during 1991 nearly 2 million Maryland residents -- or 53 percent of the population -- took part in wildlife-associated activities in the state and spent more than three-quarters of a billion dollars doing so.

Building its figures from the most recent National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, which is conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, DNR reported ** these numbers:

* 467,000 residents were fishermen who spent $283 million.

* 129,000 residents were hunters who spent $161 million.

* The nearly 1.5 million who took part in such "non-consumptive" activities as hiking, bird-watching and photography spent $270 million.

"The results of this national survey indicate hunting, fishing and non-consumptive activities are important aspects of wildlife-related programs, both in Maryland and across the nation," said DNR Secretary Torrey C. Brown.

Brown said that while money raised through sales of licenses and excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment are returned directly to wildlife-enhancing projects, the state and local communities also benefit in other ways.

". . . Often unappreciated is the tremendous economic benefit to the state from fishing, hunting and other wildlife-related recreation," Brown said. "These activities are important sources of jobs, tourism, tax revenues and general economic activity."

Nationally, the survey showed a 10 percent increase in people traveling away from home to observe and/or photograph and feed wildlife.

Boon for Kilgore Falls

Last month, the North Harford High School Ecology Club was presented with a citation by Gov. William Donald Schaefer in praise of its work in preserving the area around Kilgore Falls on Falling Branch.

Members of the ecology club raised $44,000 to assist in thpurchase of 23 acres around the waterfall, which will be maintained by DNR.

Although the state agreed to purchase the land in 1992, only $115,0000 of the $135,00 purchase price was provided.

Golden Age pass now costs

The Golden Age Passport to federal recreation areas used to be issued at no cost to those 62 years and older. However, under the provisions of the Emergency Wetlands Coordination Act of 1987 and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, starting this year the Golden Age Passport will cost $10.

Golden Age Passports issued before January of this year will still be honored and no fee will be collected.

Also, worn passes may be exchanged for replacements at no charge, but old passes must be turned in at the time of exchange.

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