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Recreation and Public Lands—The West’s Economic Driver

Recreation and tourism is an important component of Western economies, delivering quality jobs and enhancing local tax bases.

  • People are attracted to the Rocky Mountain West because of unparalleled access to the great outdoors. It is unsurprising then, that outdoor recreation is so important to economies throughout the region. Every year, millions travel to the West’s national parks and national forests to hunt, fish, hike, ski, bike, off-road, view wildlife, and relax.
  • In 2011, Americans spent more on outdoor recreation—$645.6 billion—than on pharmaceuticals ($331 billion), motor vehicles and parts ($340 billion), gasoline and other fuels ($354 billion), or household utilities ($309 billion). Money spent on outdoor recreation rivaled spending on financial services and insurance ($780 billion) and outpatient health care ($767 billion).[i]
  • Recreation is a particularly important component of Western economies. Of the $645.6 billion spent on outdoor recreation in the United States, $255.6 billion—almost for 40% of the total—was spent in Western states.[ii]
  • According to the Western Governors Association, in 2011 outdoor recreation spending in the West produced:
$15.41 billion in Federal tax receipts  |  $15.38 billion in state and local tax receipts [iii]

Latest News

@WstrnPriorities on Twitter


1 day ago
Meet Todd Wynn, the new @Interior official who wants to give away America’s public lands. https://t.co/XuD1A5cMUT https://t.co/GgQJTTSNSl WstrnPriorities photo
2 days ago
Senators may use budget vote to advance efforts to open up Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
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2 days ago
@nytopinion Efforts to open Arctic to drilling are "budget scam that puts the wildest place left in America at risk" https://t.co/kV2OTwcQVR https://t.co/TqHIcUaXe0 WstrnPriorities photo

FROM THE BLOG


States step up to lead on conservation and public lands policy in the Trump era

At a time when Westerners are feeling less than confident about the federal government’s commitment to respecting and protecting our...

October 17th, 2017

Oh, the places Secretary Ryan Zinke will go (for political fundraisers and speeches)

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has been all over the news in recent weeks — and it hasn’t been the kind...

October 17th, 2017

Anti-park congressman introduces “No New Parks” bill

Congressman Bishop’s attack on the Antiquities Act is not a serious piece of legislation. It’s a manifesto put forward by...

October 10th, 2017