Analysis: Outdoor rec contributes $62 billion to Colorado economy

Governor John Hickenlooper
Governor John Hickenlooper

Outdoor recreation contributes more than $62 billion to the Colorado economy, according to a new analysis conducted by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced the numbers and signed an executive order creating a council to promote outdoor recreation and conservation in Colorado.

“Coloradans and visitors are taking advantage of our beautiful outdoor spaces,” Hickenlooper said. “Our goal is to ensure every Coloradan has access to the outdoor opportunities our state has to offer. This executive order moves us another step closer to that goal.”

According to the CPW analysis for 2017, outdoor recreation contributed $62 billion to the Colorado economy and $35 billion to gross domestic product, the broad measure of goods and services produced in the state. The effects of the outdoor recreation industry in Colorado has almost doubled since a CPW analysis in 2013. The latest analysis captures the economic effects of outdoor activities occurring close to home such as picnicking at a neighborhood park, riding on an urban bike path or running on a local trail.

Outdoor rec supports 511,000 direct jobs, nearly 19 percent of the labor force in Colorado. Both rural and urban communities benefit from the economic contributions of outdoor recreation. More than 20 percent of economic output and more than
25 percent of the jobs associated with outdoor recreation are based in the northwest corner of the state.

The Interagency Trails and Recreation Council will work to maximize existing opportunities that advance sustainable recreation. State agencies represented on the council include the Department of Natural Resources, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Office of Economic Development and International Trade which houses the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office and Colorado Tourism Office, Department of Transportation, Department of Local Affairs, Department of Public Health and Environment and Great Outdoors Colorado.