Outdoor recreation is important to Michigan’s communities, economy and future

Outdoor Industry Association provides state-by-state reporting on the impact of outdoor recreation on jobs, wages, and tax revenue.

Since 2007, the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) has released a national report every five years describing the importance and magnitude of the outdoor recreation economy (ORE) in the U.S. The most recent edition was released in early 2017 highlighting the growth of the industry between 2011 and 2016. This report “takes a broader view of the growing industry and its shifting demographics.” The growth of the industry tells the story of the importance of outdoor recreation across the U.S.

The 2017 report groups individual states by region. For example, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio are considered the East North Central Region. Those five states are said to generate $7.9 billion in federal tax revenue and $7.6 billion in state and local tax revenue. An earlier article the statistics for this region and nation overall from Michigan State University Extension can be found online.

However, OIA has released statistics on the impact of the ORE for each state. Michigan, with our abundance of natural resources and outdoor opportunities, is said to have 232,000 jobs directly related to outdoor recreation. This is more than twice as many as the Michigan aerospace industry (105,000 jobs), according to the OIA report on Michigan.

The OIA goes on to report that ORE is responsible for $7.5 billion in wages and salaries and for generating $2.1 billion in state and local tax revenue. With our access to fresh water lakes and shorelines, it is no wonder that the OIA reports Michiganders “are more likely to participate in kayaking and camping than the average American.” 

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