The U.S. Senate just voted unanimously to include outdoor gear manufacturers, retailers, and outdoor recreation providers in the annual report of GDP. When the bill is signed into law it will mark a huge lift in the way the recreation industry is viewed. The Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act is especially important because of its impact on the debate over public lands. The energy, agriculture, mining, and timber industries are eager to resume working on public lands. Public lands are a tremendous stockpile of natural resources and these industries stand to make a lot of money. As major drivers of the economy they have argued that operating on public lands is critical to a healthy economy. They can clearly point to their potential impact on the GDP as evidence. Until now the outdoor recreation industry was not on even footing. While they argued that the misuse of public lands would deter outdoor enthusiasts from participating in recreation, it has been hard to quantify the potential impact on the economy.
Outdoor activities, including hunting and fishing, now have a seat-at-the-table when it comes to the economic discussion. The trade off between consuming public lands and conserving them is no longer just about economic value and intrinsic value. You can read a more complete article here in the Denver Post.
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