Outdoor recreation on the rise


There are new signs that outdoor recreational tourism remains strong in California, as more than 7.8 million people observed, hunted and fished the state’s wildlife in 2011, according to data released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Census Bureau. The most popular outdoor activity is wildlife viewing, with 6.7 million participants. There were 1.7 million fishers, mostly residents, who spent $2.3 billion. They spent an average of 14 days on the water, up from 11 in 2006. Nearly 400,000 hunters spent $2,419 per trip, $964 million in total, on equipment, licenses and other expenses on trips that averaged 17 days. Anglers spent $1,333 and wildlife watchers spent $533. The survey, which is released every five years, counts residents and non-residents over age 16 who went birding, photographed and fed wildlife, as well as those who hunted and fished game. The survey buttressed evidence from others that have shown 2011 and 2012 to be strong years for West Marin’s lynchpin tourism industry, despite California’s flaccid economy. Surveys reported earlier this year showed modestly more tourists have spent significantly more money in Marin’s hotels and around its national parks.