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Outdoor Recreation Bolsters Minnesota’s Economy With $16.7 Billion Annually in Consumers Spending and 140,000 Jobs

July 26, 2017

Media Contact

Emily Walsh

Sunshine Sachs


Boulder, Colo.

Outdoor recreation is a huge economic force in the state of Minnesota. It generates $16.7 billion annually in consumer spending, directly contributes a whopping 140,000 jobs and contributes $1.4 billion in state and local tax revenue, according to the Outdoor Recreation Economy state report released today by Outdoor Industry Association (OIA).

“No matter your political affiliation, where you live or your walk of life, the outdoors brings us together,” said Amy Roberts, OIA executive director. “From Maine to California, consumers are spending more on outdoor recreation as millions of Americans depend on it for their livelihoods. Outdoor recreation is a powerful economic engine that contributes to businesses and healthy communities in each and every state and is a vital and sustainable sector that relies on investing in and protecting America’s public lands and waters.”

OIA’s report also highlights that 70 percent of Minnesota’s 5.5 million residents participate in outdoor recreation each year. The report also shows that recreational fishing sustains more jobs in Minnesota (13,400) than mining and logging (6,500).

“Hunting and fishing are more than just hobbies in Minnesota—they’re a way of life often passed down from one generation to the next. We should increase access to public lands, create opportunities to strengthen the outdoor recreation economy and help ensure that our outdoor traditions can continue to be shared for generations to come,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

The report highlights another point many in the industry already know—that outdoor recreation doesn’t just generate a healthy lifestyle or significant dollars but also adds 140,000 jobs to Minnesota’s job pool (as highlighted above) and nearly $4.5 billion in wages and salaries.

“Minnesota always ranks among the best states in the country when it comes to liveability, health and happiness,” said Senator Al Franken (D-MN), a member of the Senate Sportsmen, Travel & Tourism and RV Caucuses. “And I think that has a lot to do with our state’s amazing parks, lakes, outdoor activities and recreational opportunities. This new data helps underscore that point. In Minnesota, outdoor recreation creates jobs, supports a huge amount of economic activity and brings investments and growth into communities in every corner of the state.”

As outlined in the state report, Minnesota remains well positioned to continue to grow its outdoor recreation economy, but as with any sector, there are actions that can support and grow the industry. Outdoor Industry Association urges state policymakers to do the following:

  • Adequately fund state and local parks and trails to make them attractive and accessible to families and friends seeking to get outside.
  • Take steps to raise awareness of the importance of the outdoor recreation economy (for example, Minnesotans have created the Clean Water & Legacy constitutional amendment for clean water, outdoor heritage, arts and cultural heritage and parks and trails).
  • Develop and plan urban areas in a way that means all citizens can get outside and recreate within 30 minutes of their homes.
  • Support policies that encourage outdoor innovators to start businesses in Minnesota.

Outdoor Industry Association issued the first Outdoor Recreation Economy state-level report in 2012 and has made significant improvements to the report since then. This second edition of the state report takes a broader view of the growing industry and its shifting demographics. The sample that was drawn for this study was designed to represent the U.S. population on the basis of gender, age, education and race.

Respondents were solicited through Survey Sampling International (SSI), a longtime leader in survey research. The report was made possible through the generous support of REI, Patagonia, The North Face, W.L. Gore, People for Bikes, The Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) and The Outdoor Foundation.

About Outdoor Industry Association

Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. Outdoor Industry Association unites and serves over 1,200 manufacturer, supplier, sales representative and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business innovation and outdoor participation. For more information, visit