Tuesday, September 24, 2019


SxS Touring on BLM Lands 
BLM, Needles Field Office, CA

QWR greatly appreciates the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) and their ongoing efforts to highlight the important fiscal contribution that outdoor recreation makes to the U.S. economy.

SxS Backcountry Exploring
Eldorado National Forest, CA

A news release last week from ORR about a new update from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) states this is the second consecutive year that the BEA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has released formal, national-level data, a notable milestone for the industry now identified as a unique sector of the economy. For the first time, BEA also released preliminary data on the outdoor recreation economy at the state level for all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Having a rich set of both state and national data on outdoor recreation to draw upon will inform decision-making by businesses, policymakers, and managers of public lands and waters.


As you may remember, on September 20, 2018, the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s BEA released data that shows the outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2.2 percent ($412 billion) of current-dollar Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016. The BEA report notes the outdoor recreation economy grew 1.7 percent in 2016 which was faster than the 1.6 percent growth for the overall U.S. economy.

SxS Trail Use
BLM, Eagle Lake Field Office, CA

At that time, QWR contacted the BEA about our concerns that the agency may actually be underreporting the economic impact of “off-road” motorized recreation.  While BEA disaggregated motorcycle and ATV use from other motorized activities such as RVing, it appears the agency again fails to capture the direct and growing off-road economic impact of larger OHVs such as Side x Sides (SxS), jeep-type vehicles, four-wheel drive pickups, and all-wheel drive SUVs.

Jeep on Rubicon Trail 
Eldorado National Forest/El Dorado County

QWR believes it is important for both private and public sector economists and researchers to “ground truth” their assumptions before starting their outdoor recreation economic studies.   This is not only important for BEA but for other government agencies as they try to quantify the recreation economic benefits to local communities and the U.S. GDP.

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