Portland, ME, September 26, 2019For the first time ever, the Department of Commerce ‘s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released initial statistics showing the role that outdoor recreation plays in each state’s economy. According to the data, Maine’s outdoor recreation industry makes up a larger percentage of the state’s economy than in almost any other state – ranking third only behind Hawaii and Montana. 

Highlights from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows:

  • Outdoor recreation makes up 4.8% of Maine’s economy – more than double the national average. 
  • Outdoor recreation supports more than 40 thousand jobs in Maine, accounting for 6.4% of employment.
  • Manufacturing of outdoor recreation goods contributed $328 million dollars to Maine’s economy in 2017, an increase of 47% in the last five years. 
  • In terms of economic output, boating and fishing were the largest conventional outdoor recreation activities in Maine.

“Outdoor recreation is vital to Maine’s economy – from outdoor guides to retail, to the manufacturing of outdoor products and apparel,” said Jenny Kordick, Executive Director of Maine Outdoor Brands. “With the right support, promotion and investment, outdoor recreation has the opportunity to play an even bigger role in attracting businesses and creating jobs across the state.”

The outdoor recreation data was compiled from existing statistics on the state and national economy and includes the economic impact of conventional outdoor activities, defined as hiking, skiing and snowboarding, hiking, ATV riding, hunting and fishing. It also covers other parts of the economy like amusement parks, gardening, golfing and tennis, and outdoor festivals, as well as construction, shopping and lodging that support the above activities.

“It’s great to see the state of Maine recognized for something that we at L.L.Bean have known for more than 100 years,” said Shawn Gorman, L.L.Bean’s Executive Chairman and great-grandson of L.L. Bean. “Maine is unmatched in terms of its outdoor beauty, four-season recreation and countless natural resources. As a company, we’re proud to be part of Maine’s growing outdoor recreation economy and excited to see more people coming to Maine for their outdoor adventures.”

Seventy percent of Maine residents participate in outdoor recreation activities each year, which is at higher rates than both national and regional averages. Jobs in the outdoor sector can also attract active and healthy workers to help address Maine’s aging workforce. 

Maine recently became the 12th state to establish an Office of Outdoor Recreation. MOB worked with Maine’s Department of Economic & Community Development to encourage creation of the office to advance Maine’s outdoor recreation economy. The Office of Outdoor Recreation became permanent on July 1, 2019.  Maine will be one of the next states to join the Confluence of States later this year.

Hyperlite manufacturing in Maine.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear HQ in Biddeford, Maine. Photo Credit: Matt Morelli.

“Whether it’s on the Appalachian Trail or adventuring to the farthest reaches of the globe, when people carry Hyperlite Mountain Gear backpacks and shelters, outdoor athletes are carrying with them a little piece of Maine,” said Mike St. Pierre, CEO of Hyperlite Mountain Gear. “As part of the Pepperell Mill revitalization in Biddeford, we have seen firsthand the direct and indirect benefits the outdoor industry delivers to our state. In Biddeford, we are creating manufacturing jobs and providing on-the-job training for a new generation of skilled textile workers. Outdoor recreation not only delivers real, direct economic value to our state, but the success of companies like Hyperlite Mountain Gear also fuels the growth of vibrant economic hubs and creative centers across Maine.”

Fore more information about the businesses and organizations supporting outdoor recreation growth in Maine, visit www.maineoutdoorbrands.com.