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Abstract

North Dakotans are well aware of the abundance of the state's natural resources. Fishing and hunting are part of the culture of North Dakota, and more recently nature-based tourism has grown in popularity. National surveys illustrate growth trends in nature tourism, soft adventure, and heritage and historical tours. Several studies identify birders as a substantial source of economic activity in other parts of the country; these estimates, however, may not accurately reflect conditions in North Dakota. While anecdotal evidence suggests that nature-based tourism has economic development potential in North Dakota, little research exists describing the characteristics or expenditures of visitors participating in nature-based tourism activities in North Dakota. Accordingly, the objective of this research was to identify the basic characteristics of participants attending the 2004 Potholes and Prairie Birding Festival, estimate average expenditures per participant, and estimate the direct and secondary economic impacts of the Birding Festival on the local economy, in order to quantify the economic development potential of birding in rural North Dakota.

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