Click here to read the report. Here’s the executive summary:
This study, conducted by Southwick Associates for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, estimates the economic contributions of outdoor recreational activity in Colorado during 2017. The results are provided at the state-level as well as for 7 regions within the state.1 Focusing on the state-level results below, the total economic output associated with outdoor recreation amounts to $62.5 billion dollars, contributing $35.0 billion dollars to the Gross Domestic Product of the state. This economic activity supports over 511,000 jobs in the state, which represents 18.7% of the entire labor force in Colorado and produces $21.4 billion dollars in salaries and wages. In addition, this output contributes $9.4 billion dollars in local, state and federal tax revenue. Similar interpretations can be applied to the regional results. Outdoor recreation constitutes a substantial part of the Colorado economy.
Note: Part of the analysis for this study was based on work performed or supported by the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA, 2017). This study uses a broader definition of outdoor recreation, and for this reason the results of these two studies should not be directly compared. Rather, these two studies should be used together to gain a better understanding of the economic contributions of outdoor recreation to the Colorado economy.
From The Denver Post (Judith Kohler):
Gov. John Hickelooper joined staffers from several different state and federal agencies, outdoor businesses and conservation groups along the South Platte River in Lower Downtown to unveil the latest survey of the state’s outdoor recreation economy. Hickenlooper noted the big increase in the overall economic contribution — to $62.5 billion from $34 billion in 2013.
“This puts it as one of the top economic drivers of our economy,” Hickenlooper said. “That’s a $35 billion contribution to our GDP (Gross Domestic Product). That’s more than 10 percent.
“And this is the one that is really staggering. This is up about 60 percent from the last number I saw — 511,000 jobs. That is a monster of commitment to our economy,” Hickenlooper said.
Those jobs, up from roughly 313,000 about five years ago, include those directly supported by the industry and jobs indirectly associated with and benefiting from outdoor recreation.
The results are in a report conducted by Southwick Associates for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. It estimates the contributions of outdoor recreational activity in Colorado in 2017. The last report by Southwick looked at activities during 2012 and 2013.
The economic figures in the new study differ from those in the Outdoor Industry Association’s numbers for Colorado. The trade association places Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy at $28 billion and the number of direct jobs at 229,000. The difference, said state officials, comes from the state report’s inclusion of more activities, like using urban hiking and biking trails and parks, and builds on previous surveys as part of Colorado’s Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.
The governor signed an executive order Friday creating the Interagency Trails and Recreation Council. It directs state agencies to continue collaborating to promote conservation and outdoor recreation and advance the Colorado the Beautiful initiative, whose goal is ensuring that every Coloradan lives within 10 minutes of a park, trail or green space.