Washington, D.C. — Late yesterday, President Barack Obama signed the Outdoor REC Act, thereby directing the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis to work with the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to quantify the economic impact of the booming outdoor recreation industry.
The Center for American Progress introduced the idea that became the Outdoor REC Act in a January 2015 issue brief and then worked with outdoor recreation and conservation supporters to build bipartisan support for the idea in Congress.
Matt Lee-Ashley, Senior Fellow and Director of Public Lands at the Center for American Progress, reacted to the news:
America’s growing outdoor recreation industry employs millions of people, accounts for hundreds of billions of dollars of revenue, but has long been overlooked in Washington. We are proud and pleased that this idea to measure America’s outdoor economy gained bipartisan support in Congress and has been signed into law by President Obama. Thanks in large measure to the voices and advocacy of outdoor businesses and their employees and customers, the economic arguments for conserving our land, water, and wildlife will soon become even more clear and compelling. It is high time that the recreation and conservation benefits of our nation’s lands be put on equal footing with the extractive industries that are doing everything they can to tip the scales of government in their favor under the incoming administration.
The outdoor recreation industry supports millions of jobs in the United States and generates hundreds of billions of dollars in spending each year. According to reports commissioned and published by each of the following industries themselves, U.S. outdoor recreation accounts for more direct jobs than oil, natural gas, and mining combined. However, until now, the government has not measured the economic effects of outdoor recreation, and the industry’s importance has received insufficient consideration in public lands planning decisions. Yesterday, by signing the Outdoor REC Act, President Obama gave due recognition to the importance of outdoor recreation to the American economy.
Read CAP’s brief, The Government Should Begin to Measure America’s Powerful Outdoor Economy, here.
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