Wyoming's economy benefited from outdoor recreation to the tune of over $1 billion in 2017, according to a University of Wyoming analysis and a statement from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

The 2017 figure marks a 2.3 percent increase from 2016. That's due to more people heading outdoors, the department said Monday.

"Wyoming has some of the best wildlife watching in the country, and the hunting and fishing opportunities here are sought after because of the high-quality wildlife, access and the outdoor experience with friends and family," John Kennedy, the department's acting director, said in the statement.

In 2017, people spent over $802 million on wildlife-based recreation in Wyoming. That provided a $1.065 billion benefit in total economic activity.

The department says the increased spending meant additional jobs, with the economic activity supporting nearly 10,000 jobs in the state as well as $264.3 million in income labor. Per the statement, it was a four percent increase in jobs over 2016, which the department says is significant considering that Wyoming's number of total jobs grew by less than a tenth of a percent from 2016 to 2017.

"There are about 400,000 jobs in Wyoming. So these outdoor-related jobs account for 2.5 percent of the state's workforce or, comparably, about the same amount of jobs in Carbon County," said David Taylor, the UW Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics professor who conducted the analysis.

That analysis, conducted on the department's behalf, examined the licenses and goods purchased as well as money spent during resident and nonresident trips hunting, fishing or viewing wildlife. That number is then tied to people who participate in those activities, with participation numbers drawn from the department's annual harvest reports as well as other studies.

State and local governments saw $72.4 million in tax revenue from wildlife-related activities in 2017. Taylor says that figure may not compare to other driving industrial forces in Wyoming, but indicates the potential for the state's economy to diversify in years to come.

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