Wyoming Among States Most Dependent on Outdoor Recreation
Written by Andrew-Rossi on August 4, 2021
A new analysis shows Wyoming benefits from and depends upon the nation’s multi-billion-dollar outdoor recreation industry for G.D.P. and employees.
Outdoor recreation continues to be an economic powerhouse in Wyoming and across the United States. Now, after years of growing profits and participation, the COVID-19 pandemic put everything into overdrive as citizens sought solace in nature.
According to the Outdoor Industry Association, 7.1 million more Americans participated in outdoor recreation in 2020 than in the year prior – the highest participation rate ever recorded.
This increase in participation contributes to the nation’s bottom line in a big way. Annually, the outdoor recreation industry generates nearly $450 billion to the United States G.D.P.
The website Outdoorsy analyzed data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis to create a composite index of the benefits of outdoor recreation for each state. Their statistics came from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’s Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (2019) – the most recent data available.
Of all 50 states, Wyoming is the third-most dependent state on its outdoor recreation industry.
Based on Outdoorsy’s analysis, Wyoming has an outdoor recreation dependency index of 94.2. This places it third on the list behind Montana (94.8) and Hawaii (100.0.)
Outdoorsy calculated how much each state benefits from outdoor recreation in three key areas: G.D.P., employment, and total compensation. For Wyoming, employment is the biggest area benefitting from outdoor recreation, creating over 5% of the state’s jobs.
While Wyoming might be one of the most dependent states, outdoor recreation is still only a small part of the state’s G.D.P – less than 5%.
- Total outdoor recreation value-added as a percentage of total value-added. Value added is the value of goods and services produced minus the value of goods and services used in production.
- Total outdoor recreation employment as a percentage of total employment (excluding self-employed workers).
Total compensation: 4.1%
- Pay to outdoor recreation employees (including wages, salaries, and benefits) as a percentage of pay to all employees.
And which recreation contributes the most to Wyoming’s economy? Snow activities.
While not going into specifics, Outdoorsy concluded snow activities, like skiing, are Wyoming’s largest economic impact activity. Moreover, snow activities’ impact will only increase with increasing interest in Wyoming winters in places like Jackson and Cody’s Sleeping Giant Ski Area.
After facing permanent closure, Sleeping Giant Ski Area revived itself during the 2020-2021 winter season with great results. To enhance its winter recreation experience, Sleeping Giant management decided to close its zip lines in Summer 2021 to work on additional winter infrastructure.
Other states have different activities creating their biggest economic impact. For example, Montana benefits most from boating and fishing – the most lucrative recreation area overall. In 2019, boating and fishing generated $25 billion.
In the number one spot, Hawaii benefits from “game areas” like golf and tennis. Game areas tied with RVing in 2019, each generating $20 billion.