Needs Assessment

Now is the time to invest in conservation. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it abundantly clear just how much North Carolinians love being outdoors. Our state park system experienced record visitation in 2020, with more than 19.7 million visitors despite being closed for six weeks. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission reported a 94% increase in fishing licenses from May to December 2020 over the previous year. During the same period,
hunting licenses increased by nearly 20%

Meanwhile, outdoor recreation continues to be a vital part of the State’s economy. It accounts for $28 billion per year in consumer spending and supports 260,000 jobs. A new generation of hunters, anglers and hikers is discovering North Carolina’s outdoor treasures, creating the need and opportunity to invest in conservation.

North Carolina is the eighth fastest growing state in the USA, which puts a significant burden on our natural resources. Investing in conservation now means generations to come will have more local parks and preserves, more public lands for hunting and fishing and hiking, more streamside woodlands that reduce risk from floods, more protected areas used to enhance military readiness, and more natural assets for our rural communities to be a part of the state’s growing outdoor economy.

This report reviews and summarizes the status, benefits, and opportunities for conservation in the state. Click on the image below to read the full report.