In Montana, and across the United States, survey after survey finds the vast majority of people revere and value American buffalo roaming free.
Seventy percent of Montanans favor restoration of wild buffalo in Montana according to a February 2011 poll by Moore Information.
Three in four Americans polled in 2008 believe that the wild American buffalo is an "extremely important living symbol of the American West."
A cost-benefit study from acquiring winter range for buffalo outside Yellowstone National Park found "conservatively calculated" net "measurable benefits" of $4.43 million.
Montana draws people from all over the world because of its wildlife, wildlands, parks, and recreational pursuits - generating billions of dollars for local economies.
"Between 1969 and 1989, more than 96% of all new jobs in the Greater Yellowstone Area came from sectors other than timber, mining, and agriculture."
10 million people traveled to Montana in 2008 and spent $3 billion supporting $897 million dollars in worker salaries.
Tourism and recreation businesses account for 42,200 Montana jobs.
"Tourism is one of Montana's leading and fastest growing industries."
Over 755,000 people engaged in Wildlife-Watching in Montana in 2006 - generating $375 million dollars in retail sales, creating 9,772 jobs, and bringing in nearly $100 million dollars in revenues.
Over 3,640,000 people visited Yellowstone National Park in 2010.
Over 2 million people visited Glacier National Park in 2009.
A record 2 million people visited Montana state parks in 2010 with nonresidents spending over $122 million dollars that produced 1,600 jobs in Montana.
"The fundamental conclusion of this study is that Montana State Parks represent an invaluable resource for the economy of Montana's regions, as well as the state as a whole."
Hunter and angler expenditures in Montana topped half a billion dollars in 2008: fishing $239,917,978 and hunting $292,367,289.
1. Moore Information, Inc. February 23-24, 2011 by telephone interviews among a representative sample of 400 registered voters statewide. Commissioned by National Wildlife Federation online: http://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/What-We-Do/Wildlife-Conservation/Bison-Restoration.aspx
2. Science Daily. New National Survey Says Public Reveres Bison. November 29, 2008. Commissioned by Wildlife Conservation Society online: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081118131857.htm
3. Yellowstone National Park Final Environmental Impact Statement, Impacts on Socioeconomics, Interagency Bison Management Plan, August 2000, online: http://www.nps.gov/yell/parkmgmt/bisoneistoc.htm
4. Montana Office of Tourism, Montana's Tourism and Recreations Industry Fast Facts online: http://travelmontana.mt.gov/faq/fastfacts.asp.
5. YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK NEWS RELEASE, Yellowstone 2010 Visitation Tops 3.6 Million, January 7, 2011 online: http://www.nps.gov/yell/parknews/11003.htm
6. Lorna Thackeray, Billings Gazette, A puzzler: Tourist numbers up in 2009, but where did they stay? January 18, 2010 online:
7. The Bureau of Business and Economic Research, 2010 Economic Impact Survey of Visitors to Montana State Parks, December 2010, online: http://fwp.mt.gov/parks/management/reports.html.
8. Jerry Leonard, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Wildlife Watching in the U.S.: The Economic Impacts on National and State Economies in 2006, July 2008, online: http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/NationalSurvey/reports2006.html
9. Rob Brooks and Zoe King, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, 2008 HUNTER/ANGLER USE AND EXPENDITURES FACT SHEET, July 2009 online: http://fwp.mt.gov/doingBusiness/reference/surveys/socialEconomic/hunting.html
Compiled April 2011