Gunnison County is a recreation paradise.
Surrounded by unparalleled scenic beauty in nearly every direction you look there are endless opportunities to hike, bike, dirt bike, ski, ride horses, snowmobile, hunt, and fish just out the front door. Outdoor recreation is a way of life in Gunnison and the GPLI proposal would ensure that hundreds of miles of trail retain their wild undeveloped character and quality recreation experience we have all come to love. Through the use of Special Management Areas - a tailored designation to maintain current uses - the GPLI proposal has flexibility to permanently protect wildlife habitat, headwaters, and scenic views all while ensuring that our roads and trails remain open and valued recreation stays accessible.
Recreation is an economic driver.
The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) has calculated that outdoor recreation significantly contributes to the state and national economy. The outdoor economy encompasses not only industry employment and trip related spending, but also outdoor gear manufacturing, retail and service jobs in hospitality and guiding that are fundamental to the recreation experience.
In 2012, the OIA reported that the outdoor industry contributed to 125,000 direct jobs and $4.2 billion in wages and salary. This number continues to grow. The OIA recently updated those numbers and as of 2017, there are 229,000 direct jobs and $9.7 billion in wages salary attributed to the outdoor recreation industry. Read the full OIA report here.
Regionally, a report released by the Outdoor Alliance in November 2018, shows that paddlers, climbers, hikers, skiers, and mountain bikes who visit the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, Gunnison National Forests generate more than $445.9 million in annual visitor spending. This economic activity helps to support 5,802 full time jobs equaling almost $80 million in wages.
Public lands are vital to outdoor recreation.
Many outdoor recreation pursuits occur on public lands and seeing the dollar value of outdoor recreation is an economic motivator for greater investment in the public lands and waters on which the outdoor industry relies. Beyond monetary reasons for investing the health of our public lands, the 2013 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Planning report showed that seventy percent of Coloradans identified wilderness or open lands with little to no development and opportunity for solitude as extremely important. Additionally, wilderness and open lands were given the highest priority when asked how future investments should be spent for recreation areas. The 2014 SCORP report was updated January 2019 and states, “Coloradorans’ recreation participation and priorities have not changed markedly since 2014”.
Recreation in Gunnison County is unique and special because of the undeveloped character of its landscapes.
You can hike, bike, ride your horse or dirt bike through wildflower-filled meadows, alongside some of the state’s most scenic mountain landscapes, and from rolling sagebrush country to the base of snow-capped peaks.
The GPLI aims to ensure that future generations of recreationists get to have this same experience.