Outdoor Rec Economy Generates $887 Billion

The Outdoor Industry Association’s new report measures outdoor recreation as a massive economic driver.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
April 25, 2017

 The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA)’s new economic report calculates that outdoor recreation produces $887 billion in direct consumer spending, supports 7.6 million American jobs, and contributes $65.3 billion in federal tax revenue each year. To put the numbers in perspective, the report finds that every year, American consumers spend more on outdoor recreation than they do on pharmaceuticals and fuel, combined.

The report was released at OIA’s Capitol Summit in Washington D.C., where The Mountaineers were one of many recreation leaders who gathered to champion the outdoor industry and the public lands that make it possible. During his trip, CEO Tom Vogl worked with partners and lawmakers to advance The Mountaineers' mission. You can help by visiting the report and sharing it with your legislators. OIA has an easy legislator lookup tool on the page for you to use.

Consumer spending is also in the billions for Washington state, where treasured destinations like Mount Rainier National Park, Cape Disappointment State Park, and many others bring in dollars from residents and out-of-state visitors alike. The last statewide report, performed in 2012, shows that outdoor recreation generates $22.5 billion in consumer spending, 227 thousand jobs, and $1.6 billion in state and local tax revenue for Washington.

Said Vogl, “Protecting public lands is key to sustaining outdoor recreation as an economic driver. These numbers reframe the conversation. Preserving wild places isn’t just about clean water, wildlife, and the joy of adventure. It’s also about supporting American jobs.”

OIA helps companies and nonprofits like The Mountaineers work in concert to advocate for public lands. Efforts include defending the Antiquities Act and Wilderness Act, securing long-term reauthorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and protecting public lands from privatization.

The economic report boosts an industry that continues to gain visibility and bipartisan support. In December, the Outdoor REC Act, which federally measures the recreation economy as part of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product for the first time, passed with unanimous bipartisan support under the leadership of Washington state Congresspersons Cathy McMorris Rogers and Dave Reichert. Last week, Congress formed the first ever bicameral, bipartisan caucus dedicated to the outdoor recreation industry. Washington state lawmakers are expected join the caucus in the coming weeks.

To view the full economic report, visit the Outdoor Industry Association website, where you can also take an in depth look at the numbers for Washington state.