Senate Approves Gardner- Shaheen Legislation to Measure Impact of Outdoor Recreation on U.S. Economy

Heads to President’s Desk to be Signed into Law

**Senators Gardner (R-CO) and Shaheen (D-NH) authored and introduced the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2015 that unanimously passed the Senate**

**Independent studies estimate the outdoor recreation industry generates $646 billion in consumer spending each year and supports 6.1 million jobs**

Washington, DC  – The Senate unanimously approved final passage of legislation authored by U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to require the federal government to measure the impact of the outdoor recreation on the economy and the bill will now be sent to President Obama’s desk. The Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2015, introduced by Gardner and Shaheen in October 2015, is bipartisan legislation that will inform policymakers and business leaders on the jobs created, and the consumer spending driven by, the outdoor recreation economy. 

“Outdoor recreation is a cornerstone of our economy in Colorado, yet its true economic impact from the federal government’s perspective remains unknown,” said Senator Gardner. “This legislation will educate policymakers on the outdoor recreation industry’s contribution to our economy, including the number of jobs it's responsible for and the amount of consumer spending it generates. It’s a commonsense, bipartisan bill,  and I look forward to President Obama signing it into law.”

“The outdoor recreation sector is a critical component of both the New Hampshire and national economy, and I am glad to see Congress recognizing its importance by passing this bill,” said Senator Shaheen. “In the Granite State, we know that preserving our natural treasures isn’t just good for the environment; it’s also a smart move for state and local economies. Policymakers need to see the full picture of the role that outdoor recreation plays in supporting jobs and economic growth, and craft policy accordingly. I am grateful to Senator Gardner, Commerce Committee Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson for their work to move this legislation forward and Representatives Beyer, Reichert, Welch and McMorris for their efforts in the House. I look forward to seeing President Obama sign this into law.”

“The outdoors are an integral part of our lives in Colorado, and the outdoor industry is a powerful economic engine that contributes $13.2 billion to the state’s economy and supports 125,000 Colorado jobs,” said Harry Kazazian, Chief Executive Officer of Boulder, CO-based Exxel Outdoors. “Thanks to the leadership of Senator Gardner, the outdoor recreation economy will now be counted as part of U.S. Gross Domestic Product and recognized as the powerful economic driver that we in the industry know it is.”

"Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and the thousands of manufacturers, retailers and service providers in the outdoor recreation industry, know about the hundreds of millions of dollars our industry contributes to the U.S. economy and the millions of jobs our businesses support," said OIA Executive Director Amy Roberts. "Today’s Senate passage of this bill shows that bipartisan members in both chambers understand that as well. We are grateful for the leadership of Senator Shaheen and Senator Gardner and join them in celebrating today's vote, which signals that the bill will be signed into law before the end of this legislative session. This is a big step forward in making sure that the federal government quantifies the economic importance of our industry and uses that data to inform the decisions that affect our businesses and the 142 million Americans who recreate outside each year.”

Until recently, the federal government did not 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. In April, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that the Federal Recreation Council will work with the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis to assess the economic contributions of the outdoor recreation industry. The Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2015 ensures that this work continue in the future by requiring it in statute. The bill also requires that the Commerce Department submit a comprehensive analysis to Congress capturing the outdoor recreation sector’s contribution to the economy.

The House companion bill H.R. 4665 was introduced by Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). The bill passed the House of Representatives earlier this month.