BEA Works To Define What ‘Outdoor Recreation’ Is

September 13, 2017 by   - () Leave a Comment

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke oversees the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable. Also shown (L) Ind. Sen. Todd Young and Ind. Congresswoman Jackie Walorski

Outdoor recreation is an essential part of the American economy.  According to industry numbers, the various business sectors within outdoor recreation, including campgrounds, generate $887 billion per year in economic activity and provide an estimated 7.6 million direct jobs.

According to a press release, now, thanks to strong support from the recreation industry, the federal government is working to develop a clearer picture of just how economically important outdoor recreation is.

The government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), with support from recreation industry groups like the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable (ORIR), has established the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) as part of the effort to measure the economics of outdoor recreation.

ORSA was created after the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives unanimously passed the Outdoor REC Act in November 2016.

BEA’s first step is defining just what constitutes “outdoor recreation.”  The Bureau is working with experts in academia, the private sector and the Federal Recreation Council to develop two sets of prototype statistics using broad and narrow definitions of outdoor recreation.

  • BROAD: All recreational activities undertaken for pleasure that occur outdoors.
  • NARROW: Recreational activities undertaken for pleasure that generally involve some level of intentional physical exertion and occur in nature-based environments outdoors.

BEA hopes to be able to release prototype statistics based on those definitions in early 2018.


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