Birdwatching brings millions of dollars to Alaska

A bluethroat sings near Toolik Field Station in the UAF, north of the Brooks Range. The habitat of Eurasian birds extends from just above the Bering Sea to northern Alaska. If bird watching wants to see a bluethroat in the Americas, they have to travel to Alaska. Credits: Photo by Seth Beaudreault / Toolik Field Station.

Alaska’s enthusiastic and lucky birdwatchers can see the elusive blue throat north of the Brooks Range and glimpse the bold markings as the harlequin duck zipperes along the inland river. The sound of feeding thousands of harlequin ducks in the Copper River Delta.

Thousands of birdwatchers gather in Alaska each year to get the chance to check out rare and hard-to-find species on the Big Year list. In doing so, they provide an economic boost and habitat protection incentives that are often overlooked.

Was announced in PLOS ONEIn 2016, about 300,000 birdwatchers visited the state and spent about $ 378 million, according to a new study by the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Audubon Alaska. The total income of the employer is inevitably the same.

Compared to other tourists, Alaska’s birdwatching spent more money, stayed longer, and traveled to more roadless remote areas of the state during their visits. Birdwatching tends to travel in smaller groups and engage in more activities such as guided tours than other non-birdwatching, driven by the need for stealth and insider knowledge of birdwatching spots. was.

Not only does it generate money and work in Alaska, but it’s also bird watching sightseeing It is a sustainable activity and supports habitat conservation.

“If you have a visitor coming to Alaska, you spend money watching Rare species What our surroundings offer Important habitat Globally, keeping their habitat high quality for birds is an incentive, “explained Tobias Schwoerer, research leader and economist at the UAF International Arctic Research Center.

Birdwatching brings millions of dollars to Alaska

Birdwatching searches for Beluga Slough in Kakemac Bay. Credits: Photo courtesy of: Lisa Hupp, US Fish and Wildlife Service

Studies say that Alaska’s tourism segment, which is not related to large ships, rail and bus cruise lines, is often overlooked and under-researched. From Schwoerer’s point of view, this is also an underutilized opportunity, especially for developing small niche ecotourism businesses. Rural community Blessed with a very popular person Bird seeds..

“Independent travelers can fly to the Pribilof Islands, go to the Aleutian Islands to see exotic species not found anywhere else, or book a trip with a small operator driving a sprinter van from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay. It’s more likely to happen, “Schwerer said.

This study was inspired by visitors who left the typical tourism path and appeared with binoculars. Haines Chill Cut Bold Eagle Preserve, Where Natalie Doson led bird watching and cycling. Dawson, formerly in Audubon, Alaska, began his research and hired Schwarler for economic analysis.

“This study shows how diverse and future tourism in our state is, and how our community is intertwined with visitors in the shared experience of marveling at the wonders of birds. You can get a glimpse of what it is, “Dawson said.

To quantify the economics of Alaska’s bird tourism, Schwoerer engaged in the Alaska Visitor Statistics Program, a state-wide survey commissioned by Alaska’s Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development. Every four years, the interviewer will contact you as your visitor leaves Alaska via a plane, cruise, or sea and land highway system. This survey collects information about the visitor’s activities, the amount they spent, and where and how the visitor traveled through the state.

Schwoerer incorporated these visitor statistics into a computer model to visualize how birdwatching spending flowed into the economy as a whole. Almost half of bird-related tourism spending was in southeastern Alaska, usually on tours. Famous birdwatching destinations like Nome have also emerged as hotspots for birdwatching spending, demonstrating the economic benefits to the community of investing in nature-based tourism infrastructure.

“Sustainable and well-managed birdwatching is a growing area. Birdwatching in Alaska is a type of tourism that allows Alaska to take advantage of the region’s intact land and waters,” said Audubon Alaska’s Interim Executive Director and Nature. Conservation Director David Klaus said. “It’s a place of exciting opportunity to support work while protecting irreplaceable and fragile ecosystems.”

Places like Alaska without COVID-19 outbreaks can still be devastated

For more information:
Tobias Schwoerer et al, Small Sight — Great Power: The Economic Impact of Bird Tourism Shows Opportunities for Rural Communities and Biodiversity Conservation. PLOS ONE (2022). DOI: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0268594

Quote: Birdwatching counts in Alaska (July 6, 2022) acquired on July 6, 2022 from https: // Bring a million dollars

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Birdwatching brings millions of dollars to Alaska

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