The value of Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy has adult to $62.5 billion, about double what it was just five years ago, and now supports about 511,000 jobs crosswise the state, says a state report discharged Friday.
Gov. John Hickelooper joined staffers from several different state and federal agencies, outdoor businesses and conservation groups on the South Platte stream 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 aforesaid. “That’s a $35 billion contribution to our GDP (Gross Domestic Product). That’s more than 10 percentage.
“And this is the one that is really astonishing. This is up about 60 percentage from the last number I saw — 511,000 jobs. That is a monster of commitment to our economy,” Hickenlooper aforesaid.
Those jobs, up from roughly 313,000 about five years ago, include those directly supported by the industry and jobs directly associated with and benefiting from outdoor recreation.
The results are in a report conducted by Southwick Associates for Colorado Parks and life. 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, aforesaid state officials, comes from the state report’s inclusion of more activities, like exploitation urban hike 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 inside 10 proceedings of a park, trail or green space.
“For us outdoor recreation has always been a priority,” Hickenlooper aforesaid.
Colorado was the second state to open an outdoor recreation industry office, the governor added. The prestigious Outdoor retail merchant trade shows resettled to Denver from Salt Lake City in part because of Colorado’s support for public lands and the industry.
Colorado is one of eight states that has signed the Confluence Accords, which commits participants to following a set of shared principles for growing the country’s outdoor recreation economy.
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“It goes without expression that I think outdoor recreation truly is in our state’s DNA,” aforesaid Luis Benitez, director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office. “We’re one of the few states that really treat this like a bipartizan economy and all lean in, pointed in the same direction.”
That kind of support was important as VF Corporation looked at relocating to Colorado, aforesaid Steve Rendle, the company’s chairman, president and CEO. VF, the parent company of popular outdoor brands like The North Face, JanSport and Smartwool, proclaimed in August that it will move its global headquarters and 800 high-paying jobs to Denver next spring.
Rendle aforesaid as VF considered where to move its brands and relocate a portion of its corporate leadership, it looked at areas’ support for the outdoors, the industry and conservation.
“We’re deeply concerned about public lands, access to public lands, clean air and clean water,” Rendle aforesaid.
Findings of the report on Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy include:
- About 90 percentage of adult Coloradans took part last year in at least one of the 30 outdoor activities listed in the report.
- Using trails was the most popular outdoor activity, with nearly 83 percentage of adults participating.
- Northwest and north-central Colorado were the two areas where the largest proportions of
participants recreated, with 49 percentage and 46 percentage of Colorado adults talking part in outdoor recreation in those regions, respectively.
- Outdoor recreationists in Colorado spent over $36.8 billion dollars on trips and instrumentality in 2017.
- Northwest Colorado accounted for the largest amount of outdoor recreation disbursement at $10.3 billion, followed by the north-central region at $9.6 billion.
- Fishing, hunting, and life observation combined produce over $5 billion dollars of economic output, supporting supports nearly 40,000 jobs inside the state.
“These numbers provide compelling evidence that Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy is major and a key to our quality of life,” aforesaid Suzanne O’Neill, executive director of the Colorado life Federation. “I am confident that Coloradans will keep home ground conservation and position in the frame, as quality outdoor recreation and life depend upon it.”