Gardner, Shaheen Applaud First Measure of State-Level Data for Outdoor Recreation Economy

Prior to passage of the Gardner and Shaheen-authored Outdoor REC Act, the federal government did not measure the economic impact of outdoor recreation.

Washington, D.C. – Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today applauded the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis’ statistics showing outdoor recreation had a federal impact of $427 billion of current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017, and for the first time, state-by-state data that shows recreation contributes more than $11 billion and $2.7 billion to the economies of Colorado and New Hampshire, respectively. In Colorado, outdoor recreation makes up 3.3 percent of GDP and is responsible for 5.3 percent of jobs.


Gardner and Shaheen authored the bipartisan Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact (REC) Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2016, calling for this assessment to help inform policy makers and business leaders on the jobs created, and the consumer spending driven by, the outdoor recreation economy. Prior to passage of the Outdoor REC Act, the federal government did not measure the economic impact of outdoor recreation.


“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. Today’s announcement that the recreation economy contributes more than $11 billion dollars to our state and local economies will help inform policy decisions to further enhance our thriving outdoor industry,” said Senator Gardner. “I thank Senator Shaheen for working with me on the Outdoor REC Act to provide this much-needed insight into the impact recreation has on our economy.”


“Outdoor recreation is vital to the economy in New Hampshire and around the country,” said Senator Shaheen.  “As the co-author of legislation that secured this study, I understand how critical this new, state level data will be in helping to quantify the economic impact, demonstrate the importance of the outdoor recreation industry, and inform policymakers about how best to strengthen this important sector of our economy.”


“Outdoor Industry Association again appreciates the trailblazing work of Senators Shaheen and Gardner to pass the Outdoor REC Act back in 2016 and have it signed into law so that we can now see firsthand the significant impact of the outdoor recreation industry on the U.S. economy” said Amy Roberts, executive director of Outdoor Industry Association (OIA). “The new prototype state by state analysis just released, along with contributions by sector, will be immensely helpful to and even broader range of lawmakers, communities and businesses in promoting outdoor recreation related activities and economic opportunities – the beneficial uses are endless.”





Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.