U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) recently announced that he has cosponsored bipartisan legislation to support Michigan’s outdoor recreation sector and inform policymakers and business leaders of the economic impact of the outdoor recreation industry.
The Outdoor REC (Recreation’s Economic Contributions) Act, which passed the Senate Commerce Committee this week, would direct the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to conduct an assessment on the jobs created and the consumer spending driven by the outdoor recreation economy, including travel and tourism, the manufacturing and sale of gear and apparel, and activities like hunting and angling.
“Michigan is home to a robust outdoor recreation and tourism sector that fuels our economy and offers endless activities for residents and visitors alike,” said Senator Gary Peters. “Whether it’s fishing, swimming and boating in our Lakes or skiing and snowboarding our winter landscapes, thousands of people travel to Michigan every year to enjoy our beautiful scenery and natural resources. I am proud to cosponsor the Outdoor REC Act, which will help us understand the full economic impact of outdoor recreation and better guide the policy-making process.”
Currently, the federal government, through research conducted at the BEA, doesn’t measure the economic impact of outdoor recreation, despite independent estimates that this sector generates $646 billion in consumer spending each year and supports 6.1 million jobs. The Outdoor Industry Association estimates that outdoor recreation generates $18.7 billion in consumer spending, as well as 194,000 direct Michigan jobs and $1.4 billion in state and local tax revenue.
The legislation enjoys strong support from outdoor recreation and conservation organizations.
“The upcoming 4th of July weekend is a great time to celebrate the benefits of outdoor recreation to Michigan’s economy,” said Bryan Burroughs, Executive Director of the Michigan Council of Trout Unlimited. “Many of our members will be out fishing and enjoying the state’s bountiful resources, and we much appreciate Senator Peters’ cosponsoring this bill to help recognize the critical impact outdoor recreation has on Michigan.”
“Hunting, fishing, trapping and other outdoor recreation activities are significant economic drivers,” said Dan Eichinger, executive director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs. “Determining their economic impact will help preserve the connection that our citizens have to their natural environment through those activities.”
“With 3,000 miles of shoreline and thousands of inland lakes and tributaries on four of the five Great Lakes, there are numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation on Michigan’s expansive waterways,” said Captain Denny Grinold, State and Federal Affairs Officer of the Michigan Charter Boat Association. “We thank Senator Peters for cosponsoring this bill to help recognize the huge impact outdoor recreation has on Michigan’s tourism industry and overall economy.”
“As a science based conservation organization, The Nature Conservancy always tries to base our investment and management decisions on the best data we can get. We appreciate the efforts of Senator Peters and his colleagues to secure reliable public information we can all use to make better decisions,” said Rich Bowman, Director of Government Relations for The Nature Conservancy in Michigan.”
A strong supporter of outdoor recreation and conservation efforts, Senator Peters has worked to increase investment in habitat restoration and advance Great Lakes funding and research in order to preserve Michigan’s outdoor landscapes for generations to come.