Bill calls for study of outdoor recreation’s economic heft

An up-close study of outdoor recreation that can guide Congress and others in developing policy awaits a presidential signature.

The Senate unanimously approved passage of legislation by U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, requiring the Commerce Department to measure the impact of the outdoor recreation on the economy.

Close study of everything from angling to mountain biking will be “an incredibly powerful tool” for federal policymakers, Gardner said.

Studies that have been done so far give a “rough accounting” of how much money is spent on outdoor recreation, but more information is needed, Gardner said.

Policymakers could benefit by knowing how much it might affect spending if an agency closes a trail or a stretch of river to boating, Gardner said.

“The outdoor recreation economy is billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. It’s extremely important to Colorado,” Gardner said.

“Outdoor recreation is a cornerstone of our economy in Colorado, yet its true economic impact from the federal government’s perspective remains unknown,” Gardner said.

The Outdoor Recreation Association says that outdoor recreation accounts for $646 billion in consumer spending and 6.1 million direct jobs nationwide, and $13.2 billion and 124,600 jobs in Colorado.

No date was set immediately from the White House for a bill signing.


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