When it comes right down to it, it really is this simple: healthy habitat = recreational opportunity = economic activity.
Need more proof, read this is from the recently released America’s Great Outdoors progress report (click here to download the entire report).
“The great outdoors has fueled centuries of economic activity through recreation and natural resource management, and it continues to employ millions of people today. The Outdoor Industry Association reports that outdoor recreation in the United States—from hunting and fishing to hiking and camping—contributes an estimated $730 billion to the U.S. economy. The “recreation economy” supports nearly 6.5 million jobs. It generates $88 billion in annual state and national tax revenue and $289 billion annually in retail sales and services. From the largest parks to the smallest historic sites and memorials, National Park Service areas alone see over 280 million visitors. They generate $12 billion in visitor spending that supports nearly 250,000 jobs. As part of the leisure and hospitality sector, the fifth-largest employer in America, the recreation industry has proven resilient in tough times. It shed only three percent of its workforce from 2007 to 2010 and maintained non-exportable jobs tied to places where people live and recreate right here in the United States. Maintaining this industry hinges on an accessible and healthy America’s Great Outdoors.”
There is lot’s of good information in the AGO Progress report and it not only details the progress to date, it provides action items to be accomplished going forward. Hopefully many of the action steps will take place and the country can reap the economic and societal benefits of a strong outdoor economy.