A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that outdoor recreation can be a major financial benefit to a community — in addition to simply being fun — and that Provo should work to cultivate that sector of its economy. Then last week, the Salt Lake Tribune reported on some of the specific economic benefits of outdoor recreation.
The article points out that outdoor recreation is a huge part of the economy:
Outdoor recreation is an overlooked economic giant, generating $645.6 billion last year — compared to $354 billion Americans spent at the gas pump, $340 billion spent on motor vehicles and parts, $331 billion on pharmaceuticals and $309 billion on utilities.
The only sectors bringing in more cash than outdoor recreation were financial services and insurance, $780 billion, and outpatient health care of $767 billion, according to the report.
The article is based on a report (PDF) from the Western Governor’s Association, which included things like camping, biking, fishing, and other activities.
None of this information specifically deals with Provo, but it does demonstrate that outdoor recreation is a valuable draw for communities. And as I noted in my previous post on this topic, outdoor recreation in Provo is probably underdeveloped; though there are currently great opportunities in the city, there could be greater promotion of the area’s incredible natural landscapes and destinations.