LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — On today’s Nevada COVID-19 Response Team teleconference, the media was given new details on the pandemic’s impact on our wildlife.

During today’s COVID-19 update, state officials claim a surge in visitors around the state is being reported and even sparking a nationwide campaign using hashtag ‘responsible recreation.’

“Nevadans are seeking and finding the benefits of nature at unprecedented numbers,” said Tony Wasley, Director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

Wasley says there was no shortage of challenges in 2020, but there are some outcomes not to overlook when it comes to wildlife and conservation. Citizens are turning to nature to find comfort, peace and healing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, the Nevada Department of Wildlife realized a 12% increase in hunting license sales, and a 25% increase in fishing license sales.

State official say that during the first five weeks of 2021, the department saw a 20% boost in visitors, which also resulted in more revenue for wildlife conservation.

Despite challenges the wildlife department faces while maintaining pubic safely and customer service as a public service agency, they say the underlying positives include peaceful activities for Nevadans and economic returns.

Money generated from citizens seeking outdoor activities and recreation are also helping with local and rural economies dependent on this recreation. Use of public lands is the primary source of funding for enhanced conservation.

According to Wasley an analysis of conservation investments shows that conservation funds generate 15-33 jobs per million dollars, and the economic return is $2.40 for every dollar invested.

These trends are critical because nature’s benefits span multiple disciplines as nature provides the following benefits:

  • Physical Health
  • Mental Health
  • Educational
  • Economic

“Please always remember to recreate responsibly,” added Wasley.