Congress votes to recognize the $646 billion outdoor recreation economy as part of the nation’s GDP

Nov 29, 2016

Hikers at El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico

Courtesy of Anastasia Greene
President Obama is expected to sign the “Outdoor Recreation’s Economic Contributions (REC) Act.”

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed H.R. 4665, Outdoor Recreation’s Economic Contributions (REC) Act, which President Obama is expected to sign into law.

This bill would ensure that the outdoor recreation economy is measured by the federal government and accounted for as part of the national gross domestic product (GDP).  The House of Representatives passed the bill earlier this month.

“By pumping $646 billion into the U.S. economy yearly, outdoor recreation accounts for a huge part of the nation’s economic engine, especially in communities near public lands,” said Michael Carroll, senior director of People Outdoors Program at The Wilderness Society.

“The REC Act will ensure that this impact is measured and appreciated as part of America’s gross national product.  Because millions of Americans seek out public lands for camping, boating, hiking and other outdoor recreation, we appreciate this formal recognition by Congress of its economic importance. The Wilderness Society is committed to expanding outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans.”

The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than 700,000 members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands.    


Michael Carroll, Senior Director, People Outdoors Program,, 970-247-8788 x15

Paul Sanford, National Director of Recreation Policy,, 202-429-2615