Local groups agree with Gardner: Outdoor recreation is valuable

From the Gunnison Country Times and the Crested Butte News

Dear Editor:

We would like to thank Senator Cory Gardner for introducing the Outdoor REC (Recreation Economic Contributions) Act with Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. This legislation would require the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to quantify the impact of outdoor recreation on the national economy. If passed, the REC Act would ensure that outdoor recreation would be quantified as part of the GDP and that the jobs that the industry provides would be counted.  The Outdoor Industry Alliance reports that outdoor recreation, nationally, is a $646 billion industry that employs 6.1 million people.

In Gunnison County, outdoor recreation is vital to communities and our economy. Our home in the mountains provides some of Colorado’s most well known outdoor recreation. We have some of the state’s most challenging skiing, beautiful mountain bike trails, and abundant wildflowers. Hiking, mountain biking, snowmobiling, fishing, hunting, dirt biking, and every type of skiing create employment opportunities for locals and bring thousands of tourists to our county every year.

Despite outdoor recreation driving a significant amount of business into our valley each year, statistics that quantify its overall economic impact are hard to find.  Better information will help local leaders make smart choices about how to best support this growing industry. With research from the Outdoor Industry Alliance showing that outdoor recreation brings in more revenue than the oil, natural gas, and mining sectors combined, legislation that would require the Bureau of Economic Analysis to quantify the impact of outdoor recreation is commonsense and forward-thinking.

As outdoor recreationists and conservationists in a county that is heavily reliant on the business from outdoor recreation, we thank Senator Gardner for his recognition of this industry. We appreciate his work to ensure that policy makers have the information they need to make smart decisions for our outdoor recreation economy.


Ben Breslauer - President, Gunnison O.H.V. Alliance of Trailriders

John Chandler - President, Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association

Hilary Henry - Community Coordinator, Gunnison Public Lands Initiative

Allison N. Melton - Director of Public Lands, High Country Conservation Advocates

Dave Wiens - Executive Director, Gunnison Trails