Key findings of the report include:
- Outdoor recreation is a powerful economic sector. At $887 billion spent annually, it is larger than education ($278 billion), gas and fuels ($304 billion), household utilities ($313 billion) motor vehicles and parts ($465 billion) and pharmaceuticals ($466 billion).
- Supporting 7.6 million jobs, outdoor recreation creates more jobs than real estate, rentals and leasing (2.1 million) and education (3.5 million) combined. It also supports more jobs than the food and beverage industry (4.7 million), finance and insurance (6 million), construction (6.4 million) and computer technology (6.7 million).
- Outdoor recreation generates $65.3 billion in federal tax revenue a year and $59.2 billion in state and local tax revenues.
- More American jobs depend on recreational motorcycling and off-roading (867,000) than lawyers in the United States (779,000).
- Nearly 331 million people visit U.S. national parks each year-that's nearly one visit for every American.
Beyond the numbers, the report touches on the health and societal benefits of outdoor recreation including evidence that suggests that investments in outdoor recreation and programming could significantly reduce crime rates, improve educational outcomes for many children and actually lower long-term individual and public health care costs by reducing stress and obesity rates.
"The benefits of outdoor recreation far exceed mere numbers, though the numbers are impressive," says Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates. "From helping people reduce stress, exercise more and overall improve their health, the tangible benefits of providing an abundant of outdoor activities go far beyond dollars and cents."