Shaheen Lauds Department of Commerce Report Showing Significant Economic Contributions by Outdoor Recreation Sector

February 14, 2018

The economic impact report is a result of Shaheen’s bipartisan bill that was signed into law in 2016.

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) lauded a report by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), showing the significant economic impact of the outdoor recreation sector. The Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account preliminary estimate, provided by the BEA through the Department of Commerce, is a result of Shaheen’s bipartisan legislation, the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2015, which she introduced with Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2016.

“We now finally have hard data to prove what we’ve known for a long time: that outdoor recreation is a powerful and growing sector of our economy,” said Senator Shaheen. “These statistics underscore the value of our natural treasures and our need to preserve them. In New Hampshire, protecting the environment has been critical to supporting and encouraging outdoor recreation, and growing local tourism. Policy makers at the federal, state and local level should pay close attention to this data and factor in the impact on outdoor recreation when crafting policy decisions.”

“Outdoor recreation is a driving force behind Colorado’s economy, which is why this report is so important,” said Senator Gardner. “I worked with my colleagues in the Senate to pass bipartisan legislation that mandates the government quantify the outdoor recreation economy and this report is a direct result of our work. The findings and data will be used by industry leaders and policymakers moving forward to better inform the decisions they make that could affect the outdoor recreation economy.”

Shaheen’s legislation required the federal government to measure the impact of outdoor recreation on the economy to help inform policy makers and business leaders on the jobs created and the consumer spending driven by the outdoor recreation economy. According to today’s preliminary estimates, the outdoor sector provided 4.2 million jobs in 2016 and represents approximately 2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The total GDP contribution of the outdoor recreation sector in 2016 totaled an estimated $374 billion. Year over year growth rates show that the outdoor recreation economy is growing faster than the economy as a whole. The final report will be issued by the BEA in September.

Until recently, the federal government did not measure the economic impact of outdoor recreation, despite independent estimates, including the Outdoor Industry Association’s (OIA) report. In April 2016, following a letter from Senator Shaheen, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that the Federal Recreation Council would work with the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis to assess the economic contributions of the outdoor recreation industry. Shaheen’s Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act ensures that this work continues in the future by requiring it in statute. The law also requires that the Commerce Department submit a comprehensive analysis to Congress capturing the outdoor recreation sector’s contribution to the economy.