More than Play Money: New Report Finds Annual Spending on Outdoor Recreation Reaches $646 Billion, Employs 6.1 Million

By AlpineZone News |
Jul 12 2012 - 01:06 PM

CEOs call for policymakers to act to promote the “well-kept secret” of the American economy

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — A report released today by Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) shows that outdoor recreation is a major economic driver in the United States — and one that has grown throughout the recession. According to The Outdoor Recreation Economy report, more than 140 million Americans engage in outdoor activities each year, directly delivering $646 billion to the economy and supporting 6.1 million domestic jobs.

This new study reinforces what the outdoor industry has known for a long time — outdoor recreation is a larger and more critical sector of the American economy than most people realize.

Highlight Facts from the Recreation Economy Report

The outdoor recreation economy is responsible for:

6.1 million direct American jobs
$646 billion in direct consumer spending
$39.9 billion in federal tax revenue
$39.7 billion in state/local tax revenue
“During a time when some American industries are struggling, we are seeing solid growth,” said Will Manzer, CEO of Eastern Mountain Sports and chair of the OIA Board of Directors. “Since 2005, the outdoor recreation economy has grown approximately 5 percent annually. In fact, outdoor recreation supports a significant number of jobs, on par with — or, in some cases, more than — other sizeable American industries.”

America is recognized globally as the leader in outdoor recreation. CEOs from leading outdoor recreation companies are calling on policymakers to take action to promote this critical component of the American economy.

“As a horizontal industry in a vertical nation, outdoor recreation is often overlooked,” said Manzer. “However, outdoor recreation directly fuels major sectors of the American economy like manufacturing, hospitality and transportation. Just like any other sector of the U.S. economy, outdoor recreation needs support to continue to thrive.”

OIA is holding a briefing on Capitol Hill today with Senator Mark Udall (D-CO), Representative Charlie Bass (R-NH), Dusty McCoy – Chairman and CEO of Brunswick Corp., and Manzer.

“This is the definition of a win-win scenario,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president and CEO of OIA. “In this country today, we’re battling an economic recession, a healthcare crisis, and we’re trying to create safe and sustainable places for families to live. The outdoor industry provides solutions for all of this. We need to come up with a strategy to protect the industry, its jobs and our customers.”

The outdoor industry can continue to be a growing jobs generator and an economic driver in the United States if parks, waters and trails are managed as a system designed to sustain these economic dividends for America.

For a full copy of the report, please visit

About Outdoor Industry Association
Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA supports the growth and success of more than 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers of outdoor recreation apparel, footwear, equipment and services. For more information, go to or call 303.444.3353.

About the Recreation Economy Report
The economic analysis for the Recreation Economy Report was conducted by Southwick Associates, Inc. The consumer survey was developed and executed by Harris Interactive®. The report was made possible through the financial support companies in the outdoor recreation industry.

SOURCE Outdoor Industry Association