Just how great is hiking for our economy?
We all know hiking is good for our health and our mental sanity. Turns out its good for our economy as well.
Washington Trails Association (WTA) released a report called The Value of Hiking: Economic Benefits of Hiking and Non-Motorized Recreation. Written by WTA intern Jeannie Frantz for her degree in Political Science at the University of Washington, the report surveys the latest data and economic literature on the contribution of hiking and active outdoor recreation to the economy of Washington state and the nation. Here are some of the report's findings:
One in three Washington residents identify themselves as hikers, backpackers, trail runners or climbers.
Low-impact outdoor recreation (including bicycling, camping, fishing, hunting, paddling, skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, climbing and wildlife watching) contributed $730 billion to the U.S. economy in 2005. Low-impact outdoor recreation contributes $11.7 billion annually to Washington state's economy, supports 115,000 jobs, generates $650 million in annual state tax revenue, and produces $8.5 billion annually in retail sales and services statewide. It accounts for 3.5 percent of the gross state product.
The active outdoor recreation industry contributes to the Washington state economy more than the aerospace industry and the computer manufacturing industries combined. Only the Washington state software industry is larger.
The findings in this report help show the importance and value of active outdoor recreation as a sustainable and growing component of our economy. Activities like hiking and the public lands that support them provide opportunities for people to get outside, connect with nature, stay healthy, and enjoy the local communities around these areas.
The report will be presented by WTA to Washington state's delegation of U.S. Senators and Representatives as they consider restoring and increasing recreation funds for the U.S. Forest Service, which have been in decline for more than a decade. The report makes clear the importance of providing adequate funds to repair damage to backcountry trails and roads caused by storms in November 2006.
To read the full report click HERE