As recreation business owners and outfitters, we are part of an industry that contributes $730 billion to the U.S. economy, supports 6.5 million jobs and generates about $88 billion in state and national tax revenue. As such, protecting outdoor space is not just important to us personally, but a matter of economic security.
That is why the recent announcement by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, that the federal government would fulfill its obligation to protect open spaces in the U.S., was welcome news to our industry.
The Secretarial Order addressing “wild lands” simply directs the Bureau of Land Management to better meet its fundamental multiple use mandate by inventorying “lands with wilderness characteristics” and protecting appropriate areas through existing land management planning. This process also includes continuous opportunities for local officials and communities to participate.
Our businesses depend on public land so consumers have a place to recreate, using the products and services we sell. The economic value of these open spaces is not in doubt — it is a proven resource on which our businesses and an array of other related businesses depend to ensure our livelihoods, and those of future generations.