Outdoor Recreation Means Business for Washington State

Posted: 01/08/2015
By: Thomas O'Keefe

A new study, Economic Analysis of Outdoor Recreation in Washington State, by Earth Economics demonstrates the importance of outdoor recreation for the Washington State economy. Washington State residents recreate an average of 56 days a year outside and spend money when they do it. Residents and visitors collectively spend $21.6 billion annually on trips and equipment purchases supporting nearly 200,000 jobs.

This spending reaches all corners of the state as destinations for recreation include the coastlines, wild rivers, mountains, forests, open deserts, and everything in between. 
Those with jobs in cities like Seattle who are attracted to the region for the quality of life and access to outdoor recreeation, spend their income in communities across the state. As a result, outdoor recreation represents one of the most imporant means of moving income from urban areas to rural communities. 
Over one third of this economic activity occurs along water. American Whitewater is actively engaged in efforts to promote public access to water and conserve the river resources of the state that represent an important engine for this economic activity.
With abundant rainfall throughout the winter and snowpack and glaicers that keep rivers flowing through the summer, Washington has hundreds of great whitewater trips.
“I have lived here for nearly two decades and I still find new rivers to explore within a day’s drive of my home,” notes Thomas O’Keefe the Pacific Northwest Director for American Whitewater. “The state truly offers a lifetime of adventures for outdoor recreation and those of us who enjoy these experiences spend money pursuing our passion.” 
The study was commissioned by the Recreation and Conservation Office and American Whitewater provided data and information for the report. It supports the work of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Parks and Outdoor Recreation which provided a series of action steps designed to increase participation in outdoor recreation. Today’s study, makes clear that this increased participation will also come with enhanced economic benefits for the state. Similar opportuntiies exist in states across the Western United States.

Thomas O'Keefe

3537 NE 87th St.

Seattle, WA 98115

Phone: 425-417-9012
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