The outdoor recreation industry continued to thrive in 2021 as a powerful economic engine across the country and in Wyoming, accounting for $1.5 billion or 3.6% of state GDP, according to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.
The total value added by outdoor recreation increased by $1.2 billion or 3.4% in 2020, representing an overall increase of $3 million or 0.2% in the state’s GDP. 2020 to 2021. In 2021, Wyoming ranked 6th among all states in value of outdoor recreation. added growth. Since 2020, the added value of outdoor recreation has increased by 28.6% in Wyoming, compared to a 24.7% increase in the United States.
Employment in the sector also saw an increase from 14,187 to 15,285 jobs representing 5.4% of the state’s total employment. Since 2020, employment in outdoor recreation has increased 18.4% in Wyoming, compared to a 13.1% increase in the United States.
“I think what we’re seeing is the inherent value of the outdoor recreation economy in a state like Wyoming,” said Patrick Harrington, director of the Wyoming Office of Outdoor Recreation. “People across the state look to this industry as a means of economic diversification and vitality to our local and national economies.”
In 2020, Wyoming outdoor activities saw unprecedented attendance across the state and these high numbers have continued through 2021. Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks both celebrated record numbers and welcomed 8,745,787 recreational visits combined. Wyoming’s state parks and historic sites also welcomed a combined 5,755,184 visitors in 2021, down 2% from 2020 but 25% above the five-year average.
With a record number of visits, many outdoor recreational activities also saw significant growth in 2021, with some exceeding pre-pandemic value added. Snow activities saw an increased value added of $108,258 moving from the 13th to the 12th ranked state in value added. RV, Motorcycle & ATV, Rock Climbing, Equestrian, Cycling and Recreational Flying also saw consistent increases across the board, contributing to a combined value added of $166,423 or an increase of 11%. .
In response to the trend growth in visitation and the demand for new outdoor recreation opportunities and infrastructure statewide, Wyoming Outdoor Recreation has continued its efforts to help promote, enhance, and grow responsible outdoor recreation in Wyoming through a variety of local, state and national projects, programs and partnerships.
“The work we do to bring millions of visitors from around the world to discover the beauty and outdoor experiences of Wyoming would not be possible without our partnership with the Wyoming Outdoor Recreation Office,” said Diane Shober, executive director of the Wyoming Office of Tourism. “Their team continues to provide exceptional cultural and recreational opportunities that retain visitors longer and bring them back together for many years to come.”
In 2021, Wyoming Outdoor Recreation expanded its existing outdoor recreation collaborations with the formation of 5 new initiatives for a total of 7 statewide. These initiatives bring together local community members, recreation stakeholders, businesses, conservation groups, federal and state agencies, and elected officials to identify and prioritize opportunities to grow and improve outdoor recreation in their region.
“It has been of the utmost importance in this collaborative process to incorporate and use the perspectives and needs of local communities and their members to ensure that these projects and improvements will have positive and lasting impacts and achieve growth. desired,” says Darin Westby, Director. Wyoming state parks and cultural resources.
As outdoor participation continues to grow, strategic economic development will be crucial to improving the experience on public lands and reducing overcrowding. New funding opportunities, investing in local recreation and ensuring popular destinations have sufficient infrastructure will help reduce pressure and protect nearby recreation.
On July 1, 2022, Wyoming Outdoor Recreation announced the launch of Wyoming’s first outdoor recreation grant program that will provide funding to public outdoor recreation projects across the state. The program has received nearly $72 million in applications for $14 million in available funding.
These projects and initiatives are part of a larger effort by the Wyoming Bureau of Outdoor Recreation to diversify Wyoming’s economy and have positive quality of life and economic impacts on local communities.
For more information on Wyoming outdoor recreation, please visit www.wyorec.com. You can also consult the full BEA report on https://www.bea.gov/data/special-topics/outdoor-recreation or by clicking here.