Climate Change Threatens Outdoor Recreation Economy In Michigan

Groups call for federal action to protect Michigan's wildlife, natural resources, and economy from impacts of climate change.

11-04-2009 // Jeff Alexander

Climate change is altering Michigan’s landscape and poses serious threats to fish, wildlife and the natural systems that sustain Michigan’s outdoor recreation and tourism industries, according to experts at Michigan State University.

Each year, Michigan generates $5 billion in economic activity and 72,812 jobs from hunting, fishing, and wildlife related recreation. Nationally, outdoor recreation accounts for 8 percent of all consumer spending, pumping $730 billion annually into to the economy and supporting 6.5 million jobs.

“Outdoor recreation is a cornerstone of Michigan’s economy,” said Danielle Korpalski, the National Wildlife Federation’s regional outreach coordinator. “To ensure the survival of countless businesses and communities throughout the state, Congress must pass legislation that not only reduces global warming pollution but also protects wildlife and natural resources from the current and forecasted impacts of climate change.”

Studies show warming planet is already affecting fish and wildlife

Climate change, according to government data, poses serious threats to the natural systems that provide Michigan with safe drinking water, clean air, flood protection, food, timber, recreational opportunities, scenic beauty, jobs, and numerous other services.

To keep these natural resources thriving for future generations, Korpalski said the U.S. Senate will need to dedicate a significant portion of total allowances from a climate bill toward job-creating conservation initiatives that safeguard wildlife and protect, restore and enhance forests, grasslands, rivers, oceans, coastal areas and the Great Lakes.

Scientific studies have shown that natural systems are already being stressed by climate-related impacts, such as extreme weather events, prolonged pest seasons, drought and erosion. These changes affect the Great Lakes, streams and forests and the treasured species that those habitats support — including moose, perch and brook trout.