Western Governors’ Association (WGA) released figures quantifying the impact of the outdoor recreation economy in the West. Each year in the West, Americans spend $256 billion on outdoor recreation, directly employing 2.3 million people and generating nearly $31 billion in federal, state and local taxes. Nationally, Americans spend $646 billion annually on outdoor recreation.
The economic analysis was the result of collaboration between Outdoor Industry Association, WGA, The Outdoor Foundation, the Motorcycle Industry Council, the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association and the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
“I’m thankful to these groups for contributing their knowledge, time and funding to make this important report possible,” said Washington Governor and WGA Chair Chris Gregoire. “It is our hope at WGA that policymakers at the national, state and local levels use this information to guide decisions on policies and investments related to job creation, economic development and community strengthening.”
The data reinforce the fact that the outdoor recreation economy is a growing and important sector of the American economy – a key message at the WGA annual meeting, which is taking place June 9 -12 in Cle Elum, Wash.
Sally Jewell, CEO of REI and OIA member, spoke at the WGA annual meeting, emphasizing the importance of the outdoor recreation economy to the American West. “Millions of American jobs depend on outdoor recreation,” said Jewell. “Protecting America’s parks, waters and trails is about protecting the economy, the communities and the people whose lives depend on the ability to play outside.”
More than 140 million Americans make outdoor recreation a priority in their lives. The money they spend on gear, vehicles, trips and travel ($646 billion) is nearly double what Americans spend on pharmaceuticals annually ($331 billion).
“The outdoor industry can continue to be a growing generator of jobs and an economic powerhouse,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president and CEO of OIA. “To ensure this, we must invest in America’s parks, waters and trails as a national outdoor recreation system so that Americans have access to quality places to get outside and play.”
On June 20, 2012, OIA is releasing “The Outdoor Recreation Economy,” a report that details the full economic impact of outdoor recreation in America.
To access a copy of the WGA study of outdoor recreation in the West, or to request a copy of “The Outdoor Recreation Economy” from OIA, visit outdoorindustry.org.