Counting the Outdoors: Pres. Obama Signs New Recreation Economy Law
New law includes recreation economy as part of the GDP and demonstrates a growing recognition of the impact that recreation can have on national, state and local economies.
At the end of last week, President Obama signed the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2016 after it cleared both the House and the Senate with unanimous, bipartisan support. The new law essentially counts recreation as part of the official economic measures, including Gross Domestic Product.
The law's passage is a testament to a growing recognition of the positive impact that recreation can have on national, state and local economies.
Here in Washington, recreation is a tremendous economic engine. Each year, millions of outdoor enthusiasts spend $21.6 billion on outdoor recreation in Washington. Statewide, outdoor recreation supports 200,000 jobs, exceeding the number of jobs in both the technology and aerospace industries. In addition, $2 billion in local and state taxes are collected annually as a result of outdoor recreation.
Besides counting those numbers as part of the national economy, the passage of the law may also help make the economic case for the value of properly funding and maintaining public lands. Local communities (both urban and rural) in proximity to public lands can see a significant boost their economies.