New Report Highlights Economic Benefits of Wild and Scenic Rogue River

Protected stretch of river generated $14 million and 225 jobs in 2007, Congress moves today to add additional protections to the Rogue

September 12th, 2008

David Moryc, American Rivers, 202-347-7550

Read the report (PDF)

Portland, OR – River-based recreation on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River in 2007 generated $9.8 million in direct spending, and $14 million in total economic output, according to a report by ECONorthwest. The report, commissioned by the Save the Wild Rogue Campaign, analyzed the economic impacts that recreation-related spending (including rafting, fishing, and jetboat tours) on the Wild & Scenic Rogue River has on the economy of Josephine County, Oregon.

 The report shows that in 2007 outfitters based in Josephine County were responsible for 42% of commercial activity on the Wild Rogue, that 93% of guests on commercial rafting and fishing trips came from areas outside of southwestern Oregon, and that local lodging businesses benefited from the influx of rafters and anglers, who comprised 75% of all guests during the summer months.

According to the report, in 2007 river recreation on the Wild and Scenic Rogue produced 225 full- and part-time jobs.

 “The study examined the short-run, market-based economic effects associated with recreation on the Wild & Scenic Rogue River. As such, the results of the study represent only a portion—and perhaps a small portion—of the total economic value associated with protecting this important natural asset,” said Ted L. Helvoigt, Ph.D., Senior Economist with ECONorthwest.

“The designation of this portion of the Rogue River as a National Wild and Scenic River has also contributed to the long-run economic growth in Josephine County and southwestern Oregon. It is likely that federal protection of critical tributaries to the Rogue River will not only have positive short-run economic effects, but will also further enhance the long-run economic benefits accruing to the region,” Helvoigt said.

The U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing today on Representative Peter DeFazio’s (D-OR) “Oregon Treasures” legislation, which will add Wild and Scenic protections to 143 miles of key tributaries of the lower Rogue River.

Increasing protections for the Rogue has been part of a focused effort of dozens of recreation and tourism businesses along the lower stretch of this iconic river, with nearly 70 businesses endorsing the Save the Wild Rogue campaign. 

“Businesses have lined up in support of these additional Wild and Scenic protections because what is good for the Rogue River is also good for the bottom line,” said John Sterling the Executive Director of the Outdoor Industry Conservation Alliance. “A clean, cold and healthy Rogue River provides millions of dollars in economic revenue for businesses and local communities.”

“People travel from all over the U.S. to float, hike and fish on the Rogue River,” said Brad Niva owner of Rogue Wilderness Adventures. “Congress needs to ensure that the Rogue stays healthy and can sustain businesses and communities for generations to come.”

The Oregon Treasures bill also adds approximately 4,000 acres to the Oregon Caves National Monument and authorizes a voluntary buyout with private funds of a cattle-grazing allotment in the expanded monument. At Oregon Caves, the bill would afford Wild and Scenic status to Cave Creek, including the first ever protections for the underground stream known as River Styx, which flows through the caves.

Legislation with identical protections for the Rogue River has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). However, the Senate has held a hearing only on the Oregon Caves expansion. Oregon Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR), who sits on the National Parks subcommittee, stated his support for Oregon Caves expansion, but has yet to advance protections for the Wild Rogue River.

“Now is the moment for the Rogue River. We need our leaders to step up and protect this Oregon treasure,” said Joseph Vaile of KS Wild.

“On this 40th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, I can’t think of a more appropriate time to enhance protections for one of America’s most deserving rivers,” said Kavita Heyn of American Rivers. 

More information on the campaign to Save the Wild Rogue, including contact information for over 60 business and conservation partners, can be found at http://www.savethewildrogue.org/.  


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About American Rivers

American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 200,000 members, supporters, and volunteers.

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