Friday, July 27, 2012

There's Gold in That Thar Bay!

“The Economics Associated with Natural Areas in the Delmarva” reported that the economic value of outdoor recreation in the Delmarva Peninsula, comprising coastal counties of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, amounted to $4 billion annually.

Prepared by Southwick Associates for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, the report divided outdoor recreation into categories: recreational boating sales, $1.3 billion; camping, biking and trail-based activities, $1.07 billion; and hunting, fishing and wildlife-watching, $1.5 billion.

Of the Maryland-specific figures in the report:
  •  In recreational boating sales, Maryland accounts for $607 million, tops among the three states.
  • In hunting, fishing and wildlife-watching, Maryland accounts for $657 million, second to Virginia.
  • Commercial fishing in the Delmarva Peninsula is a $300-million-plus industry, of which Maryland accounts for one-third.
  • Nature tourism contributes $367 million to the Dorchester County economy.
  • Talbot County’s three-day Waterfowl Festival brought in more than $5 million, half from out-of-state visitors, according to a 2007 study.
In Maryland, tourism was a $13.1 billion industry in 2010 — the most current year for which data are available — supporting 130,000 tourism jobs and generating $1.9 billion in state and local taxes. In 2010, more than 32 million domestic travelers visited Maryland; 18 percent of them included a trip to the Eastern Shore.
And goodness knows there would be no reason to visit the Eastern Shore without the Chesapeake Bay; it kind of like Kansas, but with Greenheads, mosquitoes, and nutria.

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