Outdoor recreation industry, seeing role to protect public lands, boasts $887 billion impact | AspenTimes.com

Outdoor recreation industry, seeing role to protect public lands, boasts $887 billion impact

Boulder-based trade group champions outdoor play as part of U.S. economy at start of its annual gathering in Washington

By JASON BLEVINS | jblevins@denverpost.com | The Denver Post
This Jan. 11, 2017, photo, people attend the Outdoor Retailer show at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City. At least two more outdoor companies said Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, they're following Patagonia's lead and planning to boycott Outdoor Retailer shows held in Utah because of a push by the state's political leaders to rescind the creation of the Bear Ears National Monument.
Rick Bowmer, The Associated Press file

A new report shows Americans spend $887 billion a year on outdoor recreation, fueling an industry that is testing its newfound political clout in an emerging battle over pubic lands.

The third-ever impact report by the Boulder-based Outdoor Industry Association being released Tuesday affirms the industry’s ascent to economic powerhouse, a climb that mirrors its recent efforts to evolve into a political force. That nascent political emergence, bolstered by a nearly trillion-dollar economic impact, arrives as the outdoor industry faces a shifting political landscape involving the public lands that anchor recreation.

With the news that the outdoor economy — defined by bike, snow, trail and water sports as well as camping, fishing, hunting, motorcycling, off-roading and wildlife viewing — supports more than 7.6 million jobs and pays $124.5 billion in federal, state and local taxes, the outdoor industry right now is circling its wagons in Washington D.C., hoping to champion the role of outdoor play in not just the health of Americans but the country’s economy.

Read the full story in The Denver Post.