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The Outdoor Recreation Economy is HUGE

Posted: 04/28/2017
by Mark Singleton

It was a big week in Washington DC for the outdoor recreation community. Outdoor Industry Association hosted their annual Capitol Summit and we were invited to join as partners with many outdoor recreation companies who directly support our stewardship work.

Outdoor recreation in America is a powerful economic force. At an event earlier in the week at the National Press Club [view press conference], the Outdoor Industry Association rolled out the 2017 Outdoor Recreation Economy Report which came with some big numbers.


In 2017 the Outdoor Recreation Economy Generated

  •   $887 BILLION In Consumer Spending
  •   7.6 MILLION Direct American Jobs
  •   $65.3 BILLION In Federal Tax Revenue
  •   $59.2 BILLION In State And Local Tax Revenue

These are just a few of the stats you’ll find in our latest Outdoor Recreation Economy Report [read the full report]. The report outlines the industry’s positive impacts on the U.S. economy and showcases examples of cities around the country benefiting from outdoor recreation. Plus, it’s full of surprising facts. For example, did you know that the direct economic impact of water sports is $139 billion?

The report was followed by a hearing in Congress before the House Energy and Commerce Committee [information on hearing and video]. Witnesses represented by leaders in the outdoor recreation industry delivered the message that investing in outdoor recreation results in healthier communities and healthier economies. They also provided testimony on the multi-dimensional nature of outdoor recreation as an economic sector, with outdoor recreation fueling employment in other sectors, such as manufacturing, finance, retail, transportation, food service, tourism, travel and more.

The Capital Summit event took place at a critical time as the Trump Administration released an Executive Order (EO) that could potentially have a big impact on public lands. The administration is calling for a review of National Monuments designated over the last 21 years, partly in response to pressure from Utah legislators who were unhappy with the designation of Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which was designated in 1996 (hence the 21 year review). Both Monuments enjoy a broad range of public support, and Bears Ears protects similar geographic boundaries to the proposed Public Lands Initiative legislation Utah’s congressional delegation was unable to successfully steward through Congress over the past several years. Read more about that EO here.

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