SHAHEEN: OUTDOOR RECREATION A BOON FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE ECONOMYSeptember 14, 2012
(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) spoke on the Senate floor to highlight the economic importance of New Hampshire's tourism and outdoor recreation industries. Shaheen has been a strong advocate of protecting outdoor recreation spaces and recently visited Eastern Mountain Sports in New Hampshire to discuss the economic benefits of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Below are Shaheen’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:
Mr. President, as the summer vacation season comes to a close, I’d like to take a moment to highlight the importance of tourism – particularly outdoor recreation – to local economies in NH and across the nation.
New Hampshire has long recognized the importance of conservation and the economic benefits that come from supporting outdoor recreation.
Our beautiful state has an abundance of natural treasures, like the White Mountain National Forest and our scenic lakes and ocean beaches, which draw visitors from all over the world. Protecting these spaces is not just good for the environment; it’s also critical to our economy.
In fact, the outdoor recreation economy supports 53,000 jobs in my state alone and 6.1 million American jobs nationwide. That’s more than construction, finance & insurance or education industries. Even in this time of economic recovery, outdoor recreation produces $646 billion in direct consumer spending—more than pharmaceuticals, motor vehicle parts and household utilities. Americans today spend nearly as much on snow sports as they do on Internet access, and considerably more on bicycling gear and trips than on airplane tickets and fees.
This is all detailed in The Outdoor Recreation Economy report.
I recently had the opportunity to visit Eastern Mountain Sports, a New Hampshire-based business that specializes in outdoor apparel and equipment. At EMS I saw the direct economic benefit that comes from our support for the development and conservation of outdoor recreation areas.
With stores throughout the east coast, Eastern Mountain Sports is just one of countless examples of businesses that have grown strong thanks to careful stewardship of the beautiful areas that so many of their customers frequent.
One of the ways we preserve our great outdoors at the federal level is through support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Created in 1965, the fund protects lands, forests, state and local parks and critical wildlife habitats. This important program also helps ensure hunting and fishing access and supports battlefields, trails, sporting facilities and outdoor recreation opportunities in every state.
Each year since I arrived in Senate, I have led a letter with Senator Leahy to Senate Appropriators supporting robust funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The most recent letter was signed by 44 Senators from both sides of the aisle, a strong showing of bipartisanship from supporters who know that this is a program that works for the environment and works for small businesses.
I am also pleased to cosponsor bipartisan legislation led by Senator Bingaman that would permanently authorize the LWCF with dedicated funding.
In New Hampshire, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has supported more than 650 local recreation and conservation projects and helps protect locations like the White Mountain National Forest, the Appalachian Trail, the Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge and the Silvio Conte Wildlife Refuge.
These scenic locations, whether they are enjoyed for relaxation or exercise, support jobs and local economies by increasing the demand for outdoor recreation equipment and attracting visitors to our state. These visitors eat in our restaurants, shop with our small businesses and stay in some of the most beautiful hotels you’ll find in America, like the Mount Washington Resort and Hotel, which was home to the Bretton Woods conference at the end of the Second World War.
Mr. President, the outdoor economy also supports tourism and tourism should be recognized as an economic engine throughout our country. The travel and tourism industry is one of the top 10 industries in 48 states, and it supports over 14 million American jobs. In New Hampshire, travel and tourism is our second largest industry, supporting over 60,000 jobs.
It’s not hard to see why tourism is such a prominent industry for my state. Visitors are drawn to New Hampshire by our charming attractions and our scenic landscapes and foliage, which provide a beautiful environment for families to spend time together.
Last month, my family and I had the opportunity to tour many of New Hampshire’s memorable vacation sites. We stayed at the Mount Washington Hotel at the base of Mount Washington. We went hiking, my oldest grandson went fishing with his father, one of granddaughters went horseback riding with my daughter and we visited the flume, a naturally occurring gorge in New Hampshire. We ended our trip visiting Clark's Trading Post, a great family business in New Hampshire that works with bears.
This was a wonderful trip that brought our family closer. We came back rested and restored and we had a great time investing in New Hampshire's businesses. As our family saw last month, conservation programs like LWCF are part of what we need to do to make sure those types of experiences are available to everybody. But more than that, as reports show: they are an economic imperative, supporting millions of jobs nationwide.
I will continue working to strengthen programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund. I urge my colleagues to join our efforts to protect America’s outdoors and support the businesses and the outdoor recreation economy that they sustain.
Press Office, (202) 224-5553
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