Wyoming, Montana Highest Valued Outdoor Recreation Economy In The Region

Nov 11, 2019

Credit U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

The total value of Wyoming's outdoor recreation economy was $1.6 billion in 2017. That's according to recently released numbers from the U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis.

This is the first attempt by the federal government to quantify the value of outdoor and recreation industries like skiing, fishing and hiking. The numbers come from tallying up the value created by production, services and goods.

Rob Godby, an associate professor at the University of Wyoming Department of Economics, said this creates a baseline to evaluate how important it is invest in outdoor resources.

"So, if you have a really great fishing resource in your state, and you spend a lot of time into it, putting boat ramps and things like that, and that might have the benefit of attracting more people to fish, but it also might attract companies who want to, say, make fishing rods," said Godby.

Montana was the first and Wyoming was the second highest number in the region with Colorado, Utah and Idaho trailing behind.

"In Wyoming, a little over four percent of the total economic product that the state produces is directly created by outdoor recreation. What that reflects is probably the outdoor activities and the economy that's grown up around the special environment that is on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains."

Godby said this data will be a baseline for states to understand where they should invest in more bike lanes, boat companies or other outdoor recreational activities.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Kamila Kudelska, at kkudelsk@uwyo.edu.