New and Noteworthy

New and Noteworthy

The Economic Impact of Outdoor Recreation

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The great outdoors offer great economic benefits, according to a report from the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA).

More than 140 million Americans make outdoor recreation a priority, The Outdoor Recreation Economy 2012 report says. With U.S. spending on recreation at $646 billion a year, Americans spend far more on the outdoors than they spend on household utilities and pharmaceuticals. At the center of the outdoor recreation economy are the outdoor consumers who represent a variety of backgrounds and live throughout the United States.

In the report, OIA calculates the direct economic impact for a set of outdoor recreation activities. The activity categories include bicycling, camping, fishing, hunting, motorcycling, off-roading, snow sports, trail sports, water sports, and wildlife viewing.

More details from the report:

  • The outdoor recreation economy grew approximately 5% annually between 2005 and 2011.
  • Outdoor recreation spending supports jobs for 6.1 million Americans.
  • Outdoor recreation generates nearly $80 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue.

Spending is primarily in two areas — the purchase of gear and vehicles and on trips and travel. Gear purchases include outdoor apparel and footwear, bicycles, skis, fishing waders, tents, rifles, or backpacks. Vehicle purchases include boats, motorcycles, RVs, snowmobiles, and all-terrain vehicles. The outdoor recreation economy grows when consumers spend on travel-related expenses such as airfares, rental cars, lodging, campgrounds, restaurants, groceries, gasoline, and souvenirs.

Not only are parks, waters, and trails critical to businesses and job creation, outdoor recreation is a major contributor to healthy and productive communities, the report concludes.

Author: Darice Britt

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