In a strong statement of bipartisan support for the value of the outdoor recreation economy, the
Senate and House have now both unanimously passed legislation that will count outdoor recreation
jobs as part of Gross Domestic Product. These jobs include those provided by gear manufacturers,
service providers, and retailers that support outdoor recreation experiences including whitewater
The Outdoor REC Act
was introduced in the Senate by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO)
where it passed on November 28th and in the House by Representatives Dave Reichert (WA-8) and
Donald Beyer (VA-8) where it passed on November 14th. Now the bill heads to the President’s
The bill directs the Department of Commerce to enter into a joint memorandum with the Department
of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior to conduct, acting through the Bureau of
Economic Analysis, an assessment and analysis of the outdoor recreation economy of the United
States and the effects attributable to it on the overall U.S. economy.
Through their Outdoor Recreation
, the Outdoor Industry Association has shown for years that outdoor recreation
provides real economic benefits with the most recent report documenting $646 billion in consumer
spending that supports 6.1 million jobs. Passage of this legislation demonstrates recognition of
the importance of this economic sector by the federal government. Federal data on the economic
benefits of outdoor recreation will inform policy decisions concerning land and river management
across the country.
The increased relevancy of outdoor recreation as an economic sector, will support our ability to
advocate for conservation of whitewater resources and enhancements to public access that support
our sport and the economic benefits it provides to local communities across the country.