Once bill is law, outdoor industry jobs would be included in U.S. GDP
In a monumental move, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act (Outdoor REC Act) last week, which means that outdoor industry capital would contribute to the U.S. gross domestic product. This is a huge step for all involved within this massive industry as it makes the outdoor market just as important as the agriculture, mining and timber industries that utilize similar landscapes.
President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law before the end of the year.
“This is a big, big deal for us because it takes us off the kids’ table and puts us at the adult table. Now we can show how much we influence the national economy. Christmas came early for the outdoor industry,” Luis Benitez, head of Colorado’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, told the Denver Post.
The Outdoor REC Act will require the Department of Commerce and other federal land management agencies to compile statistics on how the outdoor industry directly contributes to the U.S. economy. This is significant because of the lack of hard statistics in the past as well as how many people use public lands for a variety of recreational activities, fueling local businesses, retailers, and outdoor providers annually with outdoor-related purchases and activities.
“By pumping $646 billion into the U.S. economy yearly, outdoor recreation accounts for a huge part of the nation’s economic engine, especially in communities near public lands,” Michael Carroll, senior director of People Outdoors Program at The Wilderness Society, said in a press release.
Once the bill is signed into law, the next step will be compiling the data and the report that shows the benefits of the outdoor industry and how it adds to the nation’s bottom-line.
“Outdoor recreation produces big economic benefits throughout all parts of Oregon and is an essential piece of our way of life,” Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), sponsor of the bill along with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) told KTVZ.com. “I’ve pushed for this report because it will give entrepreneurs in Oregon and across the country the information they must have to make the most out of these outdoor recreation opportunities that generate jobs and business growth in rural and urban areas."