A new analysis from the Bozeman, Wyo.-based nonprofit Headwaters Economics shows that the outdoor recreation industry is growing more than twice as fast as the overall economy, and the industry has an especially outsized role in the Mountain West, according to Wyoming Public Media.

The analysis, based on a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, details how our region’s public lands, national parks and hunting and fishing opportunities, among other assets, are fueling a booming outdoor recreation industry. In the Mountain West, the industry’s contributions to state economies grew by an average of nearly 25% between 2012 and 2017, compared to 16.6% growth nationwide.

Economist Ray Rasker, who authored the analysis, points out that the sector is multifaceted.

“It includes manufacturing. It includes retail trade, of course. But also finance and engineering and a whole variety of other sectors of the economy,” Rasker said.

Snow sports, outdoor gear and apparel sales, and RVing were among the highest contributors to state gross domestic products in the Mountain West. Those sectors brought in more than $5 billion to the region’s economy in 2017.

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