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The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge: Economic Importance, 2004The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge contributes to the borough economy primarily through the tourism and seafood industries. The refuge’s lakes, mountains and forests are home to abundant animals, birds, and fish. They provide sport fishing and hunting opportunities as well as a variety of non-consumptive activities such as hiking, rafting and bird watching. The refuge also contains breeding and rearing habitat for substantial salmon populations that support sport fishing both on and off the refuge as well as commercial fishing in Cook Inlet. Three changes in the significance and impact of the refuge emerge in comparing this report with ISER’s previous estimates published in The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge: Economic Importance (May, 2000). The most striking is the continued decline in the value of Cook Inlet commercial salmon fisheries. Harvest values since 2000 are among the lowest in the last 30 years. Increased competition keeps prices low enough that even years with good returns have low total harvest values. Employment generated by commercial fishing attributable to the refuge has declined by 40 percent and income by almost 70 percent.