The Economic Importance of Wildlife in Alaska in 2011

Alaska is famous for its wildlife and we have long known that wildlife is important to Alaskans and to people who visit. But quantifying wildlife’s economic importance in our vast state—including direct and indirect spending, jobs, and associated economic activity—is not a trivial task. In 2012, ADF&G contracted with ECONorthwest to provide these data and you will find links to the study’s findings below.

This study demonstrated what most people instinctively know: Alaska’s wildlife is important to Alaskans and visitors alike. Surveys, including those conducted in the research reported here, consistently show that wildlife contributes significantly to residents’ quality of life and is one of the main reasons people visit Alaska. Because it is important to them, people spend money to hunt, view, and experience wildlife. In 2011, they spent over $3.4 billion in Alaska to hunt and view wildlife here plus additional dollars out-of-state on gear and other goods supporting those activities.

By improving the quality of life, wildlife also attracts talented workers. The increase in workforce and in households’ spending attracts businesses to the state and creates jobs and income for other workers. Through its contribution to Alaskans’ quality of life, wildlife shapes the industrial composition of Alaska’s economy and the geographical pattern of development.