Florida Forever Makes Dollars and Sense: The Economic Impact of Public Land Preservation

Jobs in Florida
  • Hunting, fishing and wildlife watching supported 120,000 jobs in 2007.
  • 20,100 jobs were generated as a result of Florida state parks.
  • In 2006, the state’s forest products and cattle ranching industries generated $9.8 billion and supported a minimum of 195,000 jobs. Florida Forever has helped preserve 158,700 acres of working agricultural lands.
  • For every 1,000 people attending a state park, the total direct impact on the local community is more than $43,400.
  • One study found that the St. Marks Trail in Wakulla/Leon County generated $1,873,400 annually, and that the average visitor spent $11.02 per visit, primarily at local restaurants.

 Revenue in Florida

  •  A 2008 economic study found that coastal wetlands in the U.S. are estimated to provide $23.2 billion a year in storm protection services.
  • In 2007, more than $70 million were contributed to general revenues in the form of state sales taxes as a result of the state parks’ operations.
  • Based on Fiscal Year 2007/2008 data, the Florida state park system had an overall direct economic impact of more than $1 billion on local economies throughout the state.
  • Hunting, fishing and wildlife watching generated about $6.8 billion in retail sales, nearly $706 million in state and local taxes, and had an overall economic impact of about $11.6 billion.
  • The Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area in Charlotte County is estimated to generate over $100,000 per year in entrance fees alone.
  • A study of economic benefits of conservation lands found that one 825 square mile stretch of Florida wetlands has a total annual value of land use between $145-$315 million in direct (camping, fishing, grazing, etc.), indirect (air quality, water supply, crop pollination, etc.) and passive uses (protecting rare or endangered species).
  • A study of ten Florida conservation areas found they generated $1.8 billion annually in ecosystem services.
  • Florida Forever has protected more than 70,000 acres within coastal watersheds and 6,600 acres of fragile coastal resources. In 2005, Florida’s coastal counties contributed almost $562 billion in direct revenue, 79 percent of Florida’s economy.

Real Estate in Florida

  • In densely populated areas of Leon and Alachua counties, a report found single-family homes were worth $14,400 and $8,200 more, respectively, if they were within 100 feet of natural areas.
  • In Leon County, vacant property within 100 feet of natural areas commanded a premium of $31,800. The study estimated that the collective impact on land values in Leon County was $159 million.
  • An increase in open space from zero to ten percent will increase the value of property on average by 3.5%.
  • A study of Collier and Lee County homes located within one mile of natural open spaces showed that they received a total property value premium of $130 million.

Outdoor Recreation in Florida

  • Fishing and hunting account for more than $8 billion and wildlife viewing for more than $5 billion. Direct recreational expenditures on retail sales were estimated to be almost $8 billion, while state and local taxes were estimated at more than $800 million.
  • Nature-based activities were enjoyed by 65 percent of Florida tourists in 2007.
  • Trails provide substantial returns on investments.  For example, in Dunedin, store vacancy rates went from 35 to zero percent after the Pinellas Trail was routed through town in 1990.
  • 92% of Florida’s tourism industry leaders agree or strongly agree with the statement that “the conservation of Florida’s natural and historical assets is necessary for the long term success of my business.”
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates anglers generate $4.3 billion on fishing-related activities. Wildlife-viewing activities generate more than $3.1 billion, and hunting an additional $377 million. This makes outdoor recreation an $8.1 billion industry.
  • Consumers spend a daily average of $79 for fishing, $25 for camping, $40 for wildlife viewing and $35 for hunting.

Floridians Willing to Pay for Land Conservation

  • On average, Floridians are willing to pay $59-$79 annually per household to restore the Everglades.
  • On average, residents in parts of Northeast Florida are willing to pay $44 annually per household to acquire land to protect water quality and quantity.\
  • 67% of Floridians support continued legislative funding for Florida Forever.
  • Since 1988, Floridians have passed 78 ballot initiatives in support of land conservation.
  • 63% of Floridians said they would be more likely to vote for a legislator if they support continued funding for Florida Forever.

Sources linked here.

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