|Outdoor recreation bringing jobs and money to economy|
|Written by Wild Nevada|
|Thursday, 16 August 2012 14:20|
A new study by the Outdoor Industry Association has found that outdoor recreation economy grew during the Great Recession and accounts for more jobs than the oil and gas industry, education and construction.
The Outdoor Recreation Economy report uses these findings to make a case for developing a cleaner and more accessible system of public lands, wild and scenic waterways, hiking trails and bike paths.
"The fact that we have so much public land has created this economy, and we as public policymakers need to be here to sustain that," said Rep. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.).
Here are some of the numbers:
Just to be clear: These numbers aren’t just generated by backpackers heading off into the wilderness. The report also includes motorized activities like off-roading, boating, motorcycle riding and RV camping. But it is significant that motorized and nonmotorized groups came together to fund and support the study.
And it’s not the first time nonmotorized and motorized enthusiasts have been like-minded about conservation issues and public land. A survey earlier this year found that a proposal to make Gold Butte a National Conservation Area with Wilderness is popular among hunters, hikers, campers, mountain bikers and off-road enthusiasts. Voters who occasionally or frequently use Nevada public lands for off-road vehicle recreation activities – typically a group that doesn’t favor wilderness proposals – were especially in favor of the Gold Butte National Conservation Area with Wilderness idea, with 73 percent saying they supported it.
Based on the eye-popping numbers in the recreation economy report, perhaps it’s no surprise that the outdoor retailers in the U.S. are prepared to use their clout to express their concerns about conservation issues. The Outdoor Industry Association recently issued an ultimatum to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert: drop your designs on Utah’s public lands or we’ll take our $40 million convention out of Salt Lake City and move to Las Vegas, Denver or somewhere else.
Herbert backed a bill that demands the federal government relinquish control of public lands in Utah by 2014. The retailers think such a move, which might be unconstitutional and hearkens back to Nevada’s old Sagebrush Rebellion days, would lead to more mining and environmental decline in Utah. Still waiting on Herbert’s response to the threat.