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Shaheen, Gardner Lead Effort to Require Federal Government to Measure Impact of Outdoor Recreation on U.S. Economy

**Legislation would require the Bureau of Economic Analysis to provide the first publicly available data on outdoor recreation economy**

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced the Outdoor REC (Recreation’s Economic Contributions) Act, bipartisan legislation that would inform policy makers and business leaders on the jobs created, and the consumer spending driven by, the outdoor recreation economy. Currently, the federal government, through research conducted at the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), doesn’t measure the economic impact of outdoor recreation, despite independent estimates that this sector generates $646 billion in consumer spending each year and supports 6.1 million jobs.

“The outdoor recreation sector is a critical sector of our economy – and it’s time we start counting it,” Shaheen said. “In New Hampshire, we know that preserving our natural treasures isn’t just good for the environment; it’s also a smart move for our economy. Our bipartisan legislation will help us better understand how outdoor recreation supports jobs and economic growth.”

“Outdoor recreation in Colorado is a pillar of our local communities, our Western heritage, and attracts people from all over the world to our state,” said Gardner. “Colorado's great outdoors has contributed significantly to state and local economies across the country, and the Outdoor REC Act recognizes that. This bill would allow lawmakers to make informed policy decisions to further enhance the industry by understanding the impact recreation has on our economy, and I look forward to working to ensure this commonsense bill moves through the legislative process. Congress could use a little fresh air, and this bill shows the value of it."

“Outdoor Industry Association appreciates the work of Senators Shaheen and Gardner to better understand the significant impact of the outdoor recreation industry on the U.S. economy by introducing the Recreation’s Economic Contributions (REC) Act” said Amy Roberts, executive director of Outdoor Industry Association (OIA). “We know through our own research of the outdoor recreation economy and the millions of associated jobs here in the United States that the outdoor industry is major economic driver. It will be extremely important and helpful, however, for the federal government to quantify the economic importance of our industry and use that data to inform the decisions that affect our businesses and the 142 million Americans who recreate outside each year.”

The outdoor recreation economy is not measured independently by BEA despite being a larger contributor to the economy than the oil, natural gas and mining sectors combined. The BEA currently reports on a number of sectors that are smaller than the outdoor recreation economy, and the Outdoor REC Act would fill this gap by requiring BEA to account for the impact of this multi-billion dollar industry in their publicly available reports.

Text of the legislation can be found here.