ST. GEORGE – The Western Governors Association, of which Utah’s Gary Herbert is vice-chair, and five industry groups – Outdoor Industry Association; Motorcycle Industry Council; Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association; Specialty Vehicle Institute of America; and National Marine Manufacturers Association – released a report Sunday on a 2011 survey of the outdoor recreation economic sector.
The activities included in the survey were: trail sports, snow sports, hunting, off-roading, biking, water sports, wildlife watching, camping, fishing and motorcycle riding.
The report, A Snapshot of the Economic Impact of Outdoor Recreation, according to the WGA website, marks the first time the non-motorized and motorized recreation industries have joined forces to provide a complete picture of the economic impact and importance of outdoor recreation for the economy.
It calls the outdoor recreation industry “an overlooked economic giant,” reflecting Americans spent an estimated $645.6 billion on outdoor recreation in 2011, third only to spending in financial services and insurance, and outpatient health care. It exceeds by nearly $300 billion, spending in economic sectors of gasoline and fuels ($354 billion), motor vehicles and parts ($340 billion), pharmaceuticals ($331 billion) and household utilities ($309 billion).
The report states that outdoor recreation spending in western states equaled $255.6 billion in 2011, which is nearly 40 percent of the national total; and fueled 2.3 million jobs in the western region in 2011.
Tax revenues generated in 2011 through the outdoor recreation sector for the western states were estimated at $15.41 billion in federal tax receipts and $15.38 billion in state and local tax receipts.
The report promises a commitment from the WGA and its industry partners to develop state-level reports in these areas.
Considering the heightening tensions over public lands, which undoubtedly provide the loci for much of the economic yield illuminated by this report, a Utah- specific study of this nature could incentivize advocates on both sides of the federal vs. state’s rights to lands to up their game.
The full report is here: SnapshotEconomicImpact-3
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Copyright 2012 St. George News.