Outdoors Notebook: Rising tide of recreational boating generates big money

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The Fourth of July weekend is traditionally the biggest boating holiday of the year. Nationwide a record number of boaters estimated at 88 million is expected to take to the waters in 2013, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

Boating as a recreational activity, including use in fishing, is increasing in the U.S. The NMMA reports the spike in boating brings an annual economic value of $121 billion, supports 964,000 American jobs and 34,833 businesses, generates $40 billion in annual labor income and drives $83 billion in annual spending.

"New boat sales have historically been a barometer for the U.S. economy and the steady sales increases we're seeing is being reinforced by the slow uptick in consumer confidence, housing and spending," said Thom Dammrich, NMMA president in a written statement. "As economic growth continues, we anticipate sustained steady growth through the remainder of 2013."

The Pittsburgh region has 9,532 recreational boats, and 107 boating-related businesses generate 3,946 jobs. According to the NMMA, annual boating-related spending in Pittsburgh is $211.2 million with a total annual economic impact of recreational boating in Pittsburgh of $498.7 million.

Doe tags

The first round of antlerless deer license sales begins Monday with the process and price the same as last year. As expected, newly created northcentral Wildlife Management Unit 2H will have an allocation of 6,000 doe tags. WMU 2G, which was subdivided in April to create the new unit, will have 28,000 tags. In 2012, 2G had an antlerless allocation of 33,000 tags. WMU 2B, which comprises most of Allegheny County, will offer 62,000 tags.

Wounded Warrior shoot

Phoenix Nationwide will host a clay shoot Friday at Nemacolin Woodland Resort, Fayette County, to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, which recently opened a new Pittsburgh office. Get details at 412-927-1226.

Warm water stockings

The state Fish and Boat Commission recently stocked nearly 70,000 game fish fingerlings in southwestern Pennsylvania. Some 43,580 were walleye planted in Glendale Lake, Cambria County. The rest included 2,700 largemouth bass in Dutch Fork Lake (Washington), 1,849 walleye in Lake Somerset (Somerset), 14,700 in Cross Creek Lake (Washington) and 6,000 tiger muskies in Mahoning Creek Lake (Armstrong).

Fishing for support

A U.S. senator says Trout Unlimited lured people to endorse an Environmental Protection Agency proposal by offering a chance to win an Alaskan fishing trip.

Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, accused the cold-water environmental group's national office of using the trip as bait to bribe people to post comments on the EPA's website regarding the agency's draft environmental assessment of the impacts of a proposed copper and gold mine in southwestsern Alaska.

"This is a pretty low tactic to try and bribe support of their efforts to pre-emptively kill a job-creating project," Vitter told the Washington Free Beacon. "Skewing the public's response is really unhelpful in the process to get an unbiased review."

Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., chairman of a relevant subcommittee, told the Free Beacon that prolonged EPA research into the proposed mining project was unnecessary because regulation of the project falls under the state's jurisdiction.

Trout Unlimited spokesman Tim Bristol told the paper he hoped Vitter would consider, "coming here and meeting local people, 80 percent of whom oppose [the mining project], before making such a harsh judgment."



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