Outdoor recreation is big business in Minnesota

Industry directly employs 118,000 

By John Michaelson
Minnesota News Connection

There are big bucks in outdoor recreation for the state of Minnesota. The Outdoor Industry Association has totaled up the financial impact from hiking, fishing, hunting and the like. Spokeswoman Avery Stonich said consumer spending per year in Minnesota is more than $11 billion, while the industry is directly responsible for 118,000 jobs.

“This is producing $3.4 billion in wages and salaries,” she said, “and it is generating $815 million in state and local tax revenue.”

The report says nearly 70 percent of Minnesotans take part in outdoor recreation each year and among the state’s most treasured destinations are the Chippewa National Forest and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Spending on outdoor recreation in the U.S. has increased by about 5 percent each year, even through the Great Recession. Stonich pointed out that that shows how much Americans value the ability to get out and play in the great outdoors.

“It is something people find important, even when they’re struggling with other aspects of the economy,” she said. “So it’s important that we support policies that protect the places where people get outside and enjoy our nation’s natural resources.”

Nationally, outdoor recreation is said to generate nearly $650 billion a year in consumer spending, while directly supporting more than 6 million jobs.

More information is available at www.outdoorindustry.org.