Action Alert: Commerce Department Seeks Input on Definition of “Outdoor Recreation”

The BEA’s work is directed by last year’s groundbreaking legislation, the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact (REC) Act of 2016, which passed Congress with unanimous, bipartisan support. ORSA will formally measure outdoor recreation’s contribution—jobs, employment, wages and more—to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).

By Alex Boian May 9, 2017

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) is seeking YOUR help defining what activities should be considered “outdoor recreation” as they prepare to launch a formal study and analysis of the outdoor recreation economy. The BEA is in the “definitional” phase of establishing the scope of the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA). The BEA’s work is directed by last year’s groundbreaking legislation, the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact (REC) Act of 2016, which passed Congress with unanimous, bipartisan support. ORSA will formally measure outdoor recreation’s contribution—jobs, employment, wages and more—to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).

According to the BEA, “ORSA will provide detailed data that will deepen the public’s understanding of the economic impact of outdoor recreation, inform decision making and improve governance and long-term management of public lands and waters.”

Last month, Outdoor Industry Association released the third version of the “Outdoor Recreation Economy” report, which shows that outdoor recreation contributes $887 billion in direct consumer spending, supports 7.6 million American jobs, adds $65.3 billion in federal tax revenue and adds $59.2 billion in state and local tax revenue.

 The OIA report defines the following activities as outdoor recreation:

  • camping (tent campsite, RV, lodge)
  • fishing (recreational fly, non-fly)
  • hunting (shotgun, rifle, bow)
  • motorcycling (on-road, off-road)
  • off-roading (ATV, ROV, dune buggy, 4X4/Jeep)
  • snow sports (cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, Nordic skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, telemark skiing)
  • trail sports (day hiking on trail, backpacking, rock or ice climbing, running 3+ miles, horseback riding, mountaineering)
  • water sports (kayaking, rafting, canoeing, surfing, SCUBA diving, sailing, stand-up paddling, boating (cruising, sightseeing, wakeboarding, tubing, kneeboarding, water skiing)
  • wheel sports (bicycling on paved road, bicycling off road, skateboarding)
  • wildlife viewing

Though we believe these activities comprehensively define outdoor recreation, now is your opportunity to add activities you believe should also be measured by the BEA in their research. The BEA will determine which activities will be classified as in scope, out of scope or partially in scope for the outdoor recreation economy.

 If you would like to quickly and easily submit comments to the BEA on what should be considered outdoor recreation, please send a message directly to the BEA through OIA’s new Advocacy Center.

Even if you agree with the activities OIA has defined as outdoor recreation in the Outdoor Recreation Economy report, it is extremely helpful to send comments through the OIA Advocacy Center.

You can review the BEA’s notice and additional information here.

OIA will be working closely with the BEA as their development of ORSA progresses and will provide notification of developments and additional opportunities to engage in the process.