This chapter provides an overview and interpretation of tourism related travel patterns and associated recreation expenditures. This will be accomplished in 3 sections. The first section will look at general recreation trends in the United States over the last several decades. Secondly, these patterns will be compared to recreation travel patterns in the Rocky Mountain West. Finally, travel patterns in Montana and the 3 Regions of the State will be explored to see how Montana fits into to the bigger National and Western recreation travel patterns and what the future might hold for the State.
A primary finding indicates that nature-related tourism and recreation are growing trends nationally, regionally, and within the State of Montana. Comparatively, a higher percent of Montana residents participate in nature related recreation and in particular, hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing. Non-resident travel is also closely linked to wildlife and fish - wildlife viewing is in the top 2 reasons for travel to the state in all "Travel Countries" within the State. Expenditures for travel/tourism in the State are greatest around Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, but throughout the west and central front, non-resident expenditures are significant. The 9.8 million visitors to Montana represent 10 times Montana's resident population and result in 43,300 jobs for an economic impact of $2.75 billion. Hunting, fishing and viewing are primary activities for residents and non-resident visitors whether looking at visitation on National Forests or in the various travel counties. Hunters, anglers and wildlife viewers had a total economic effect of over $680 million in 2001. This resulted in 9,800 jobs. Non-resident hunters and anglers are very wealthy with the majority having incomes over $100,000. Elk and deer hunting are highest in the western part of the state, but an important activity throughout the state. Repeat hunters and anglers cited lodging and road conditions as improved. However, open space and environmental conditions were cited as being worse.
The importance of wildlife, fish and natural places cannot be ignored when considering the demand and values of both residents and non-residents. These resources contribute to the reasons people live in and are attracted to the state.
The studies discussed here look at participation patterns and associated recreation travel expenditures. Expenditure data is used in Economic Impact Analysis (also known as Regional Economic Analysis). An economic impact analysis traces flows of spending associated with changes in final demand for a Region or State to identify changes in sales transactions, tax revenues, personal income, and jobs caused by changes in sales to final demand activity. Final demand sales include exports from a Region including tourism, new federal spending or new investment to a Region/State. The principle empirical techniques for economic impact measurement are: business or visitor spending surveys, analysis of secondary data from government economic statistics, the economic base model and input-output models and multipliers. The input-output model is a general equilibrium model that takes into account the interrelatedness of production across industries and government. From a national accounting stance, a positive economic impact in one region will usually be offset by losses in other regions so that the impacts wash out. At a State level, this information is important as it shows movement of jobs and income around the State as well as leakage out of the State. Since economic impact only shows the change in financial transactions in an economy, it does not answer the question of whether public welfare has increased/decreased as a result of a proposed policy. As such, economic impact analysis should not be confused with economic efficiency analysis, which considers the allocation of resources to generate the highest net benefit to society over time (refer to the report by Duffield for a discussion of economic valuation studies).
The pursuit of and interest in recreation can be traced far back into U.S. history. Perhaps the establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872 is the first landmark in the American public's love of the great outdoors. The legacy of policies addressing outdoor recreation show an increasing interest in recreation settings and opportunities. The Park Service was established in 1916 and thus marks the entry of the federal government in the recreation management business. The Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission (ORRC) was established in 1958 and was charged with studying present and future needs for outdoor recreation and with determining the available and future supply of outdoor recreation resources (this Agency has since been broken up and its role has been absorbed by other federal agencies mostly notably, the Park Service). A major concept for public land management was articulated by Congress when it passed the Multiple-Use Sustained Yield Act of 1960, which recognized the value and equal importance of timber, water, wildlife, range and recreation. Today, national forests provide more recreation opportunities than any other land management system (Figure 1). The 1960's was a period of time when Congress passed a series of acts related to recreation: The National Wilderness Preservation System, the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, the National Trails System, the Outdoor Recreation Act, and national recreation areas. In addition, under the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 Congress provided for the acquisition of recreation lands
States have been following the same path as the federal government in recognition and development of recreation opportunities. Increased demand for state park land between 1960 and 1990 fueled the development of facilities and recreation programs. Today, every state has a park system, and state parks host an estimated 700 million visitors a year on just over 11 million acres (Douglas, 1999). Montana's park system has 43 state parks encompassing approximately 25,400 acres; visitation was 1.6 million people in 2003.
People recreate in the outdoors for many reasons. Some seek solitude and a reprieve from the noise and stress of everyday life, while others seek excitement and opportunities for socialization. The benefits of outdoor recreation are diverse, and include better physical and mental health, reduced stress, time with family and friends, and an appreciation for the natural world and an understanding of natural systems. In fact, "The evidence strongly suggests that participation in outdoor recreation at any time of life, but particularly as a child, leads people to have more satisfying and fulfilling lives" (Pandolfi 1999). Another important value of outdoor recreation not often considered is its effect on mental and physical health. Studies show the economic benefits of exercise include less work absenteeism, higher productivity in the workplace, and decreased medical bills as a result of better health and less stress (Pandolfi 1999).
The U.S. population now totals more than 280 million people and is expected to grow to twice that amount by year 2100 (Cordell 2004). This growth is largely occurring in the thirteen western states (Mountain and Pacific states, including Alaska and Hawaii), which have gained a share of the national population every decade since 1850. Throughout the 1990's, the West's population grew 6% faster than the national average (15.2% growth versus 9.3%), and the Mountain Division states (Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada) grew nearly twice as fast as the average for the west during that same period (Masnick 2001).
It is important to understand the dramatic changes that population growth will have on recreation in Montana because "Population has been, is, and will be the major driver of outdoor recreation participation growth in this country" (Cordell 2004). When assessing recreation trends, it is important to note that, due to population growth, an activity with steady participation rates over time will still result in a substantial increase in numbers of participants.
Much of the information summarized in this section is from the National Survey on Recreation and the Environment (NSRE), the nation's most comprehensive recreation survey available. The NSRE survey does not distinguish recreation activities by land type (private, state, or federal); however, the activities summarized below require large tracts of land and natural landscapes.
An estimated 94.5% of the population 16 and older participated in some form of recreation within the 12 months previous to the 1994-1995 NSRE. Since 1960, the number of people age 12 or older who engaged in recreation activities at least once a year has increased 75% to more than 229 million people in 2000-2001 (Cordell 2004) and, as population grows, is expected to increase. Figure 2 shows projected future recreation hotspots by 2020 based on current public land availability and current population growth. The western states are expected to receive the bulk of recreation pressure on public lands by 2020, while Western Montana will see moderate to moderately heavy recreation pressure (Cordell 2001).
Activities growing the fastest since 1960 include; bicycling, camping, canoeing/kayaking and swimming. Figure 3 shows camping and biking, in particular, have grown significantly over this 40-year period (Cordell 2004). In 1960, an estimated 13 million people age 12 or older camped at least once in the previous year (includes developed and primitive camping). By 1994-1995, those numbers had increased to 58 million people, and by 2001 reached more than 78 million participants, nearly one-third of America's population at the time. Throughout those 40 years, more campgrounds offered paved roads and electric hook-ups to accommodate increasing numbers of Recreational Vehicles (RV's) (Cordell 2004). Biking participation (all forms, including mountain biking and road touring) rose from 13 million in 1960 to more than 93 million participants in 2001, more than 600% growth during that 40-year period (Figure 3). While recreation participation is increasing in large part due to population growth, technological advances have also made camping, biking, and canoeing/kayaking easier and more accessible.
The activities with the fastest growth rate by participation from 1982-1983 to 2000-2001 are shown on Figure 4 (Cordell, 2004). These activities may not have the greatest number of participants, but their rates of growth are significant, and highlight potential future trends. Wildlife viewing increased 231.4% since the 1982-1983 NSRE study, growing from an estimated 22 million participants to nearly 73 million participants 12 and older by 2001. Day hiking increased over 193% during the same period, from 26 million to over 76 million by 2001. Backpacking and primitive camping also increased over 100% during the 19 years between surveys (Cordell 2004). Figure 5 further highlights the growth in bird watching. Birding festivals have grown from 12 in 1993 to 70 in 1997.
Two motorized activities also saw significant growth (Figure 4). Snowmobiling grew from 3% of the population participating in 1982-1983 to 6% in the 2000-2001 NSRE. Off-road driving participation, which includes all-terrain vehicles, sport utility vehicles, and other 4-wheel drive vehicles, increased more than 100% during that same period (Cordell 2004). Although the number of snowmobilers and off-road drivers is relatively small (5.9 million and 18.3 million, respectively) such motorized activities are clearly gaining popularity.
The increasing popularity of these dispersed recreation activities is in large part the result of new equipment technology, such as faster and more versatile all-terrain vehicles, that allow people to go farther into the backcountry, stay out longer, and access previously remote, untrammeled places in a matter of hours. Such technological advances will continue to influence the type of recreation opportunities demanded in the future.
In 2001, the twelve most popular activities nationally by percent participation included walking for pleasure, family gatherings, gardening, viewing scenery, visiting nature centers and museums, picnicking, sightseeing, and driving for pleasure, outdoor sports, visiting historical sites, viewing wildflowers and viewing wildlife (Figures 6 and 7). With the exception of gardening and outdoor sports, these popular activities involve nature related activities that you must travel from your home to wildland areas to participate. For comparison, these most popular activities nationally are also displayed for the Rocky Mountain West and Montana (Figures 6 and 7). With the exception of visiting nature centers, Montana resident population participates are a greater percent than nationally indicating the great affinity Montanans have for the outdoors and wildland recreation activities.
Percent of population participating gives an indication of how many participate in the activity but not a sense of intensity of use since a person who participates once is given the same percent weight as someone who participates more than once or frequently. Figure 8 shows the most popular activities nationally according to millions of recreation days. Walking for pleasure, viewing scenery, bird viewing, wildflower viewing, wildlife viewing and day hiking are the most popular activities (nationally and in the Rocky Mountain West) when expressed by intensity of use or days of participation. From an intensity of participation, a lot of the organized, motorized, and high tech activities fall out, such as downhill skiing (113 million nationally and 12 million for the Rocky Mountain West) and snowmobiling (101 million nationally and 15 million in the Rocky Mountain West). As such, these top 6 activities are more often associated with wildlands and nature than those measured by percent participation. Figure 9 shows the importance of wildlands related to million of visits to designated wilderness where the Rocky Mountain west and the Great Plains have the majority of visits.
Recreation is a critical component of community health and vigor. Across the nation (Figure 10), recreation accounts for a strong component of employment and income, ranging from 1.8% of jobs in the South to 6.2% of jobs in the Rocky Mountains. From both a jobs and employment standpoint, recreation accounts for the highest percent of jobs and income in the Rocky Mountains.
Federal recreation budgets and workforce are expected to continue to decrease in the future. Simultaneously, recreation demand will increase on public lands due to population growth and recreation technologies making it easier for people to recreate.
Another important trend relates to land access. The 2000 Renewable Resources Planning Act reported that "the proportion of privately owned forest land open to the public and free of charge has declined from 29 percent in 1979 to 23 percent in 1989 and 15 percent in 1996" (USDA 2000). A reduction in the amount of private land open to public access will further increase pressure on public lands.
At the same time, however, access to public lands is decreasing with more development along National Forest boundaries. According to the General Accounting Office in 1992, "of the 465 million acres of public land managed by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, about 50.4 million acres (roughly 14 percent) lack adequate public access" (Peterson 1999). In many places, such as Montana's Bitterroot Valley, public land access is limited with new residences along the forest edge. With continued population growth, public land access is certain to be a concern in the future.
Where will the recreation demands be in the future? From a national perspective, as shown on Figure 11, the greatest gap in meeting future demand will occur in downhill skiing, visiting historic sites, snowmobiling, wildlife viewing, and site-seeing. For downhill skiing, demand will be more than twice supply and thus a gap of 2.1. Figure 11 also shows the greatest gaps in the year 2050 for the Rocky Mountain Region. Downhill skiing, visiting historic sites, wildlife viewing and site seeing stay in the top 5, however, snowmobiling is replaced in the Rocky Mountain Region by cross country skiing as one of the future recreation activities where the gap will be the greatest in the Rocky Mountains (Figure 12).
Figures 13, 14, and 15 show national, regional, and Montana trends specific to fish and wildlife recreation. While participation in hunting is declining slightly nationally, as shown in Figure 13, the percent of the population participating in hunting in the Rocky Mountain Region and Montana is significantly larger than the nation as a whole (8% nationally, 12% in the Rocky Mountain West and 33% in Montana). The same is true for fishing (Figure 14) and viewing (Figure 15), in particular, coldwater fishing, other wildlife viewing (non bird viewing), and bird viewing. Based on the percent of households participating in wildlife and fish related recreation, it may be appropriate to conclude that individuals move to and stay in Montana for the wealth of wildlife and fish resources.
Non-consumptive wildlife recreation (observing, feeding, and photographing wildlife) is popular nationwide. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, wildlife watchers age 16 or older spent more than $38.4 billion in 2001 on trips, equipment, and other items related to watching wildlife (USDI 2001).
Figures 16, 17, and 18 show projected gaps in meeting demand for hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing for the nation and the Rocky Mountain Region. For hunting, (Figure 16), hunting supply will exceed demand nationally in the year 2010 and stay relatively flat, however this is not the case for the Rocky Mountain Region. Hunting demand will continue to increase and by the year 2050, demand will exceed supply by 35%. Fishing (Figure 17) is relatively flat nationally, but will continue to grow in the Rocky Mountain West. Wildlife viewing (Figure 18) will increase nationally and in the Rocky Mountain West. Figure 19 summarize projected growth in hunting, fishing and viewing for just the Rocky Mountain West from a recreation day perspective (rather than number of trips). Wildlife viewing will see the largest gap by the year 2050, with demand almost be double that of supply.
In 2003, 9.9 million individuals (4.0 million groups) visited Montana. They spent $1.86 billion in direct expenditures, which resulted in a combined economic impact of $2.75 billion. These expenditures supported 29,600 direct jobs and 43,300 combined jobs. Combined State and local taxes of $135 million resulted (Nickerson, 2004).
Throughout the 1990's, the travel industry has been seeing a steady increase in growth (Figure 20). It is now an industry on equal level with construction, agriculture, and transportation. In terms of employment, it is ranked 6 th in the state, supporting 29,900 jobs in 1999 (Dillion 2000). Concerns regarding the low average wages in the tourism industry has some basis for truth, however it should be kept in mind that these are good entry jobs and are most needed in the summer when high school and college students are looking for work (Dillon and Nickerson, 2000). The addition of any job is an economic benefit to Montana.
While national trends show nature-based recreation is increasing, this is especially the case in Montana, illuminated by the steady increase in nonresident visitors to the state who watch wildlife, day hike, and camp, and dramatic population growth in high amenity areas. Thus, outdoor recreation expenditures contribute greatly to Montana's economy, leading the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research to conclude, "Montana's amusement and recreation industry is outpacing all the other travel-related service industries in terms of employment growth" (ITRR 2002a).
The Rocky Mountain region is home to nearly 52% of all NFS lands in the nation (Cordell 1999), and in Montana, NFS lands are concentrated in the western half of the state. Not coincidentally, these areas near public lands are also experiencing the most population growth. Montana's population grew 13% throughout the 1990's, and is now home to more than 902,000 people (MT FWP 2003). Four of the six fastest growing counties in Montana during the 1990's are in the western part of the state (Table 1) (U.S. Census 2000). With such a vast amount of public lands, outdoor recreation is an important activity in the state.
Figures 6 and 7 compare recreation participation rates nationally, and regionally, the state of Montana. A higher percentage of Montana residents over the age of 16 participated in nature-based recreational activities like viewing wildlife, day hiking, camping, off-road driving, and backpacking in the last 12 months than the average for the western region and the nation (Cordell 2004). This comparison illuminates the uniqueness of the vast public lands in Montana that provide an array of recreational opportunities.
According to the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research, "Of all pleasure trips taken by Montana residents, 44 percent are day trips within the state, 29 percent are overnight trips within the state, and 27 percent of trips are to destinations outside of Montana." Nearly three-fourths of Montana residents vacation within the state, many of whom participate in outdoor recreation activities.
Figures 6 and 7 show the activities enjoyed by Montana residents. There preferences are consistent with the national and Regional participation and show a more active relationship with recreation opportunities.
According to the Montana Department of Health and Human Services, nearly one in five Montanans will be 65 or older in all but seven counties by 2025. In the western half of the state, only Gallatin (8%) and Missoula (10%) counties are expected to have fewer than 18% of their population 65 or older, along with five counties in eastern Montana (MT DHHS 2004). Montana currently has the fourth oldest population in the nation (MT FWP 2003).
Managers must be aware of this portion of the population as older recreationists seek different opportunities than younger people. Older people generally prefer less strenuous forms of recreation, such as birdwatching, driving forest roads, and walking (MT FWP 2003). Birdwatching is the fastest growing activity nationally, and Montana already has the highest birdwatching participation rate in the nation at 44% (compared to the national average of 31%) (Cordell, 2004).
In 2002, nonresident travel to Montana increased 30% from 1991, topping 9.8 million travelers (Figure 21) (ITRR 2002a). This represents more than ten times Montana's resident population, 41% of whom listed vacation as their primary reason. Nonresident travel represents new dollars being introduced into the economy and as shown in Figure 20, nonresident travel expenditures have grown steadily since 1992 (ITRR, 2003). The top three attractions for those nonresident visitors were mountains and forests, open space/ uncrowded places, and rivers and lakes (ITRR 2002c). These visitors enjoy the same nature-based activities as Montana residents and the rest of the nation.
In 2002, Montana's nearly 9.8 million non-resident visitors (41% of whom listed vacation as their primary reason for visiting) spent $1.8 billion on items such as gasoline, food, lodging, retail, and auto rental and repairs. (Figure 22) These visitors spent $65 million on outfitter and guide services alone, and an estimated $41 million on campgrounds and RV parks (ITRR 2002d). Although direct expenditures in these two categories totaled 6% of all nonresident visitor expenditures in 2002, they do not represent recreation tourism's full impact. In the case of Montana's nonresident visitors, recreation use value far exceeds the $106 million spent just on outfitter services and camping, and includes portions of expenditures in all other categories, such as lodging, food, and gas. The majority of visitors came from Washington and California (Table 2)
In 2001, an estimated 5.6 million nonresidents visited Montana during the summer months of June, July, August and September (Figure 23) ITRR 2002c . Visitation for these four summer months accounted for nearly 59% of all nonresident visitors to the state for the entire year. Wildlife watching was the most popular outdoor recreational activity with 36% participation (Figure 13). Nearly one in three (33%) day hiked while in Montana, and one in four (23%) camped in a developed area. During the winter (December-March), wildlife watching (17%) was the most popular activity after shopping, and 12% of visitors enjoying day hiking and downhill skiing (ITRR 2002c).
Recreation tourism is closely linked to scenic, natural landscapes, and many Montana towns bordering public lands are aware of the economic opportunities such landscapes provide. The Gateway to Glacier report acknowledges people are drawn to the Flathead Valley for its "rural feel, clean water, wide-open spaces, wildlife, scenic beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities" (Swanson 2003). Indeed, the Valley's communities recognize these natural amenities are "largely responsible for the quality of life and economic vitality [the communities] enjoy" (Swanson 2003).
Outdoor recreation is, for many, a lucrative business. Estimates of expenditure and regional economic impacts show recreational activities contribute billions of dollars to the national economy annually.
As shown in Figures 13, 14, and 15, more resident households (by percent) participate in hunting, fishing and viewing than the percent that participate nationally and regionally. Between 1996 and 2001, resident participation in hunting, fishing and viewing day use increased by 40% overall (Table 6). Non-resident participation increased in hunting and viewing. And while fishing day use decreased, an overall increase of 14% was still experienced in the state.
The economic effect of hunting, fishing and viewing also showed an increase between 1996 and 2001 (Table 7). Even with a slight drop in fishing effects, overall total effects increased by 18%, and jobs by 17%.
In 2003, non-resident anglers and hunters were surveyed regarding their trips (Tables 8b and 9b). The majority of anglers and hunters visited Western Montana and were repeat visitors (85% for hunters, 84% for anglers) and planned to return with in 2 years (94% and 88% respectively). When asked what has improved since their last visit, both hunters and anglers stated lodging availability and road conditions. Amount of open space and condition of the environment, were cited by repeat anglers and hunters as conditions that had worsened since their last visit. Both groups are very wealthy with the majority having yearly incomes of greater than $100,000 (37% of hunters and 34% of anglers). Elk and deer hunters in Montana numbered 254,453 in 2001 and spent 1,751,303 hunter days (Table 12).
One indicator of the value of Montana's hunting resource is to look at the amount non-resident hunters are willing to pay for a guided hunt. Figure 24 shows the high bids for hunting Montana Bighorn Sheep for 1995 through 2004. The highest bid of $300,000 was in 1998. In 2004, a non-resident moose permit was auctioned for $17,500 and a non-resident elk permit auctioned for $20,000
Thus far, we have looked at recreation participation rates nationally and statewide, demonstrating the popularity of nature-based recreation activities. We have also looked at the economic values of recreation activities and the promise of nature-based tourism for local economies. The uniqueness of Montana lies in its vast open spaces and high proportion of public lands offering high-quality, nature-based recreation opportunities such as wildlife viewing, and the three Regions within the state play an important role in providing these opportunities.
Figures 25 and 26 show a county and travel region breakdown of non-resident travel expenditures for the State (Nickerson, 2003 and 2004). As might be expected, the highest expenditures are for those counties near Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks. However for the Western and Central Front Regions, travel expenditures are significant throughout. Table 3 reports the top 10 counties for non-resident travel expenditures (Nickerson, 2003). Custer Country is the only Eastern Region country in the top 10. Table 4 shows the Top 2 Activities (minus shopping) that attracted visitors to the various travel regions. In all cases viewing wildlife is first or second.
Non-resident travelers were surveyed in 2004 (Table 10 eastern, central, western) and asked what attracted them to Montana and what were there primary activities (Table 8 destination , characteristics/residence, conditions, income ). For the 3 western travel countries (Glacier, Gold West and Yellowstone), mountains, open space, rivers, wildlife, and the National Parks were the top attractions. Shopping, viewing wildlife, visiting historic sites and day hiking were the major activities. Visitors to Western Montana spent over $1.17 billion in the pursuit of these nature-based activities. Results from the 2002 National Visitor Use Monitoring survey of recreation use on the Bitterroot, Flathead, Helena, Beaverhead-Deerlodge, Gallatin, Kootenai and Lolo National Forests (Table 9 destination, characteristics/residence, conditions, income, ) further demonstrate the popularity of such activities (USDA 2002). The recreation activities common to the more than 8 million recreation visits to all three Forests were relaxing and escaping noise, viewing natural features, and viewing wildlife. This study supports national and statewide data showing recreationists value public lands as places to relieve stress and connect with nature, and support national recreation participation data showing the popularity of activities like birdwatching and wildlife viewing. The vast wilderness, roadless and undeveloped areas available for wildlife viewing opportunities are defining characteristics of recreation within western Montana. When asked for the primary purpose of their trip to the National Forests, fishing and hunting were the motivators that gained further emphasis for use of the National Forests.
Hunters top destination in 2003 was Yellowstone Country (32% - Table 8a). Anglers top destination were Yellowstone Country (36%), Glacier Country and Gold West Country (14%) (Table 9a ). Elk and deer hunters numbered 162,855 in 2001 in Western Montana and spent 1,191,805 hunter days (Table 12 western, central, eastern ). Far more than the other Regions of the State.
In 2003, primary attractions to Russell Travel Country and Custer Country were mountains, open space, Yellowstone National Park and family and friends (Table 10 eastern, central, western). Primary activities were shopping, viewing wildlife and visiting historic sites. They spent over $596,000 in pursuit of the mostly nature based activities.
Visitors to the Lewis and Clark National Forests in 2002 listed hunting as the primary purpose of their trip (20.4%) (Table 5 western1, western2, western3, central, eastern ). While on the Lewis and Clark NF, visitors top activities included viewing wildlife/birds/fish (80%), viewing natural features (75%) and relaxing/escaping noise (64%).
Anglers fourth and fifth most visited sites were Custer Country (9%) and Russell Country (8%) (Table 9a). Hunters listed Custer Country as their 2 nd location (29%) and Russell Country as 4th (11%). 46,058 deer and elk hunters visited the central front and spent 251,497 visitor days.
The primary attractions to Eastern Montana for non-resident travelers in 2003 were mountains, open space, Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, family and friends and rivers (Table 10c). Primary activities included shopping, visiting historic sites, viewing wildlife and developed camping. These non-residents spent close to $500,000 in their visits to Custer and Missouri River Country.
Resident and non-resident visitors (2003) to the Custer National Forest were primarily attracted to hunting (19.4%) and hiking/walking (18.2%) (Table 5e). Activities included viewing natural features (53%), viewing wildlife/fish/birds (52%) and hiking/walking (48%). Visitors spent an average of $1,468.80.
Missouri River Country was visited by 3% of hunters and 2% of anglers. Custer Country was visited by 29% of hunters and 9% of anglers. 14,610 elk and deer hunters spent 73,930 days in Eastern Montana (Table 12c).
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Cordell, H. Ken. 2004. Recreation and the environment as cultural dimensions in contemporary American society. Leisure Sciences. 24(1):13-41.
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This report was completed in 2004.