Recreation boosts state economies, a state-by-state report

Park rangers prepare to take school group on hike as part of Great Outdoors Initiative in 2010. 

flikcr: U.S. Army./Michael J. Nevins

We know recreation is important for our health and our families, but it is also crucial to our growing economy.

The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) has just released a collection of reports that detail the economic impact of outdoor recreation for each of the 50 states. Their data includes direct spending, jobs, salaries as well as tax revenue. 

Here are some examples of state-based statistics:

  • In Colorado, outdoor recreation generates $13.2 billion in consumer spending.
  • In Texas, outdoor recreation generates 276,800 direct jobs.
  • In California, outdoor recreation generates $27 billion in wages and salaries.
  • In Florida, outdoor recreation generates $2.5 billion in local and state tax revenue.

These figures show that outdoor recreation drives economies, creates jobs and supports communities. Which isn't too surprising once you realize that almost 140 million Americans participate in outdoor activities annually.

Slideshow: A glimpse at lands that have created recreation money for western states

The OIA's national report, which was published last summer, outlines how Americans spend $646 billion each year on outdoor recreation. It also demonstrates how recreation supports 6.1 million jobs in product development, manufacturing, marketing, logistics, sales, retail, and public land management in addition to other service and hospitality jobs impacted by recreation-motivated travel.

The outdoor industry will continue to generate jobs and support strong economies if public lands are initially invested in. The Wilderness Society advocates for recreation and conservation funding so that America's wild lands can continue to be fully accessible and enjoyed.

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