“All politics is local,” Tip O’Neill once said. So when the Outdoor Industry Association released its 50 state report on the outdoor recreation economy I quickly downloaded the numbers for Virginia.
According to the OIA, Virginia outdoor recreation generates:
• $13.6 billion in direct consumer spending,
• $ 3.9 billion in wages and salaries,
• $ 923 million in state and local tax revenue, and
• accounts for 138,000 direct jobs.
If you spend time in Virginia’s great outdoors, whether it is hiking, biking, camping, canoeing, hunting or fishing you know that many, if not most of the places where you do those things are public lands. Unfortunately recognition of this economic driver by the Commonwealth’s elected officials, at any level is few and far between.
If you like to play outdoors then you just might ask those same elected officials what they are doing to help this important segment of our local economy.
Give them the facts; let them know our public lands provide the venues for many recreational activities that in turn power that economic engine.
Make them tell you why other, more consumptive and less sustainable uses should take precedence over recreation.
You can see what outdoor recreation means to your state’s economy and download the report on OIA’s Outdoor Recreation Economy page.
The outdoor recreation economy is an economic powerhouse, now it needs to be a political powerhouse!