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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


3 days ago
A riveting first-person account from @JessiJohnson89 of @artemis_nwf about how her first bow hunt turned her into a public lands advocate for life.

https://t.co/iGyLWHZZpS
4 days ago
NEW PODCAST: @JessiJohnson89 of @artemis_nwf describes how her first bowhunt turned her into a public lands activist for life.

https://t.co/jrFZxOUHgw
5 days ago
UPDATE on Rep. Mike Noel’s undisclosed land that magically got cut out of Grand Staircase-Escalante NM. Fact-check from @Western_Values:

https://t.co/JyV5Xd6C5J
5 days ago
New from @GregorZimmer: The Land & Water Conservation Fund is wildly popular with Republicans and Democrats in Montana. So why is @SecretaryZinke trying to defund it?

https://t.co/hiuJlwTozz https://t.co/QoaYYRsvXq
WstrnPriorities photo

FROM THE BLOG


Interior Secretary Zinke wants to defund a vital land conservation program he supposedly supports

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has turned his back on Montana, a state he represented in Congress until last year. The...

February 15th, 2018

In their own words: Interior Department admits it’s helping oil and gas companies at the expense of taxpayers, clean air

At the direction of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, the Bureau of Land Management has announced it will effectively eliminate a...

February 15th, 2018

Trump’s “Energy Dominance” Reality Check

The fact is, U.S. oil production hit new heights during the Obama administration. Same with natural gas. The Trump administration’s...

February 8th, 2018