- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 12, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Outdoor recreationists contributed more than $1.9 billion worth of economic activity in South Dakota between October 2015 and October 2016, according to a new study.

The study commissioned by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department said recreational activity supported nearly 18,400 jobs, generating more than $534 million worth of income to state residents and about $85.5 million in state and local tax revenue during the survey period.

The department found that hunters spent more than $682.7 million and anglers spent over $271.3 million. Trappers, wildlife viewers and boaters were also big spenders with a combined contribution of almost $140 million.

“We were curious about these numbers,” said the department’s administration chief, Scott Simpson. “I don’t want to say we were surprised.”

The Capital Journal (https://bit.ly/2osIjMQ ) reported that marketing and analytics firm Southwick Associates conducted the study. More than 9,600 people were surveyed directly. Nearly 35 percent of people surveyed were South Dakota residents, while 65 percent were nonresidents.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service used to track the economic impact of outdoor recreation, but there were significant holes in its tracking, such as using small sample sizes and not including state park visitation.

The South Dakota study found that state park visitation contributed almost $214 million to South Dakota’s economy in a one-year period.

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This story has been corrected to show that anglers spent over $271.3 million, not $271.3.

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Information from: Pierre Capital Journal, https://www.capjournal.com

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