$887 Billion Dollar Outdoor Recreation Industry Is Starting To Flex Its Political Muscle

$887 Billion Dollar Outdoor Recreation Industry Is Starting To Flex Its Political Muscle


$887 Billion Dollar Outdoor Recreation Industry Is Starting To Flex Its Political Muscle


Thanks to a mutually beneficial lease with the USFS, Alta Ski Area exists | Photo (+Cover): Barclay Idsal/Unofficial Networks

On average Americans spend more money on outdoor recreation than gasoline and education– COMBINED.

Related: Public Lands Debate Heats Up As Outdoor Retailer Announces Their Departure From Salt Lake City

Which has the boulder-based Outdoor Industry Association thinking– shouldn’t we start lobbying Washington on behalf of the outdoors? Thankfully that question is not falling on deaf ears this time around. This time, the Outdoor Industry Association is stepping up to the political plate with a new study that shows just how much the average American values “The Great Outdoors.” Completed with the help of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, the study illustrates how consumers spent roughly $887 billion dollars on outdoor recreation in 2016 alone.

The big takeaway– federal government officials should start listening to the outdoor recreation industry and listen good.

The outdoor recreation industry topped other notable industries in annual consumer spending; beating out titans of commerce like pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles, and household utilities.


Of the many topics the OIA hopes to tackle as a lobbying arm for the outdoor industry, public lands access and conservation are at the top of the list. With his latest executive order, Donald Trump is putting national monuments such as Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments under review.

“More Americans are employed by hunting and fishing (483,000) than oil and gas extraction (180,000)” – Outdoor Industry Association

Republicans hope the review will allow Congress to roll back the designations made by presidents Obama and Clinton while those who make their living on public lands hope for anything but. This week, OIA will host its 25th annual Capitol Summit, where industry representatives will sit down with lawmakers and policy professionals with the hope of protecting the lands upon which the outdoor industry sits.

If Washington doesn’t care about the Great Outdoors they should at least give the almighty dollar a listen.

Outdoor Recreation Industry Stats:

*Stats drawn from the Outdoor Industry Association

  • Outdoor recreation on Forest Service Land contributes $13 billion to the national economy and supports 205,000 jobs each year.
  • Americans spend more time recreating in the great outdoors than they do at all NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL events combined.
  • “On average, Western rural counties with the highest shares of Federal Lands had faster population, employment, personal income, and per-capita income growth than their peers with the lowest share of federal lands.”
  • Americans spend $20 Billion annually on Trail Sport Gear vs. $18 Billion on home entertainment.
  • Snow sports alone support 695,000 jobs nationally vs. all the extraction industries combined (627,000).


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