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A regional public media collaboration serving the Rocky Mountain States of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Outdoor Recreation Industry Is A Force To Be Reckoned With, So Say The Numbers

Mountain Biking In Crested Butte, Colorado
Creative Commons 2.0
Mountain Biking In Crested Butte, Colorado

The outdoor recreation industry is growing faster than ever, especially in our region. In fact, new statistics show this sector grew faster than the overall U.S. economy.

This is the first year the Bureau of Economic Analysis has officially released numbers on the industry. It includes everything from hunting and fishing to climbing, skiing, and biking. The numbers from 2016 show the sector surpassed the entire U.S. economy in GDP growth, compensation, and employment.

Jessica Wahl is with the Outdoor Industry Association, a national group based in Colorado. “It was super validating,” she said, “that they came up with what we’ve been saying which is that this is a really important sector of the economy.”

She said the evidence of economic growth gives this industry more political power too.

“Now we can go in with legislators and the administration,” Wahl said, “and say ‘Hey we want to keep growing, this is important to you that we keep growing because we are a serious part of the economy. Here are the policies that just went into place that were either good or bad for us.’”

The data is now being calculated thanks to legislation co-sponsored by Colorado Senator Cory Gardner in 2016.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Copyright 2020 KRCC. To see more, visit .

Ali Budner is KRCC's reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, a journalism collaborative that unites six stations across the Mountain West, including stations in Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Montana to better serve the people of the region. The project focuses its reporting on topic areas including issues of land and water, growth, politics, and Western culture and heritage.
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