Despite pandemic closures, the economic impact of the outdoor recreation industry nationwide has increased by more than $ 228.2 billion from 2019 to 2020, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported on Tuesday.
Outdoor recreation generated more than $ 688 billion in economic output, accounted for 3% of U.S. employees and is expected to create 4.3 million jobs, according to the report. In Colorado, industry accounted for 2.5% of the state’s gross domestic product. That’s a drop from the 3.1% it represented in 2019, according to the report.
Colorado also lost 19.5% of its outdoor recreation employees. Wyoming saw a drop of 24.8%, while New Mexico’s outside workforce declined 21.9%.
“The outdoor economy is actually more important than the fossil fuel economy in the United States,” Senator Jeanne Shaheen, DN.H., said at a Tuesday morning press conference hosted by the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, a group of outdoor industry trade groups. Shaheen and former Colorado Senator Cory Gardner co-sponsored the Great American Outdoors Act, which then-President Donald Trump enacted in 2020.
“Despite the pandemic, public land and water closures, canceled trips and trips, collection restrictions, supply chain issues and more, the outdoor recreation economy is a huge contributor to national economies. and local, ”said Jessica Turner, President of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. . “This data, along with what we’ve seen over the past year and a half, proves how vital continued investments in our public lands and waters and our recreational infrastructure are to national and local economies and how communities large and small, rural and urban, enjoy outdoor recreation.
The big winners in outdoor recreation included boating, fishing, hunting and the use of recreational vehicles.
“When you look at what happened during COVID-19, in terms of outside participation, the numbers are up,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director of the Outdoor Industry Association. “In fact, this is the biggest increase of any year we’ve ever seen, and we’ve been following it for 15 years.
“The outdoor spaces were flooded. It was (a place) of refuge to safely socialize for your physical and mental health and recover from screen fatigue. We don’t yet have a way to measure this economic impact, but we know it does.
Some other Colorado statistics from the report:
- Colorado’s “outdoor recreation value added” level was $ 9.55 billion in 2020.
- There were 120,063 Colorado employees working in outdoor recreation, earning an estimated $ 5.67 billion in compensation.
- Of all the outdoor recreation activities in Colorado, most were “snow activities” with 1.15 million, followed by “boating / fishing” with 533,600, followed by “playgrounds (golf, tennis, etc.)
In addition to recreational vehicles and boating / fishing, the hunting industry saw its numbers increase in 2020.
“Hunting continues to be on an upward trend, in terms of participation, in recent years,” said Kelly Reisdorf, communications manager for Vista Outdoor and general manager of Venor. “Hunting license sales in calendar year 2020 increased by 5% compared to the previous year. And while we are currently in the middle of the hunting season, all signs point to a continued continuation of these trends. “
Hunting participation had been declining for 11 years before the number spike in 2020.
A link to the study can be found at bea.gov.