Hunting and fishing revenue injected $26 million into Moffat County's economy in 2002, according to a recent report.
The report, commissioned by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, concluded hunting and fishing account for 4 percent of the county's economy. Statewide, hunting and fishing generated $1.5 billion and created 20,200 jobs.
"This report supports what the CDOW has known for years. Wildlife-related activities are important contributors to Colorado's economy and remain among the most popular pastimes for residents and visitors," said Linda Sikorowski of the DOW's policy and regulations section.
In Moffat County, 26 outfitters are members of the Craig Chamber of Commerce.
But chamber employees couldn't determine how many people are employed through the fishing and hunting trade in the county, nor how many people visit the county to hunt or fish.
Local government entities have been working to increase the hunting and fishing industry in the county by subsidizing Continental Airlines flights from Houston to Yampa Valley Regional Airport throughout the fall.
At the Colorado Outfitters Association's spring meeting Friday, Tom Sullivan, Routt County manager, asked the outfitters to support Moffat and Routt counties in their efforts to bring Houston flights to the Yampa Valley. Sullivan said he is trying to obtain a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help subsidize the flights.
The outfitters association voted to send a letter of support to the Department of Transportation but did not commit any money.
Some outfitters said flights on larger planes would help their clients, because the small planes many clients fly aboard don't have the space to carry hunter's luggage as well as meat.
Although more than 200 outfitters belong to the association, only about 12 outfitters attended the Friday morning portion of the meeting.
According to the DOW report, the fishing industry generated $460 million, and hunting generated $340 million in direct revenues.
But wildlife watching, an activity often linked to other outdoor recreation, generated an estimated $560 million in revenue.
Although Front Range communities provide a large portion of the transportation and equipment sales used by hunters and anglers, the overall impact of hunting and fishing is small compared to the total size of these communities' economies. In Denver County, hunting and fishing account for 0.1 percent of the county's economy. However, 0.1 percent of their economy is $126 million.
The report indicates that hunting and fishing activities compare respectably with the state's ski industry, which reported $2 billion in revenue for the 2001-02 season.
And like the skiing industry, hunting and fishing attracts many outdoor enthusiasts from outside the state.
The DOW estimated out-of-state residents contributed an estimated 42 percent of hunting and fishing revenues.
Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org