Wyoming Outdoor Rec GDP Growth Outpaces Colorado & Utah

Wyoming Outdoor Recreation GDP Growth Outpaces Colorado & Utah

Written by on March 7, 2023

New statistics show how and why Wyoming’s outdoor recreation industry is attracting people and money – and how it’s contributing to the state’s bottom line.

The Wyoming Outdoor Recreation, Tourism, and Hospitality (WORTH) Initiative at the University of Wyoming, in partnership with the Wyoming Office of Outdoor Recreation, has compiled a report to document several key elements of just how the industry contributes to Wyoming communities.

The WORTH report compares the economic contribution of different activities such as snow sports, hunting, fishing, and off-roading and underscores how outdoor recreation directly supports more than 15,000 jobs in Wyoming.

WORTH Report WY GDP 2021

Courtesy WORTH

In 2021, the outdoor recreation industry generated $1.5 billion — or 3.6 percent — toward Wyoming’s gross domestic product (G.D.P.).

To put this in perspective, outdoor recreation in neighboring states Colorado and Utah contributed just 2.7 percent to their respective states’ GDPs.

The report also describes the natural features in Wyoming that draw outdoor recreationists to visit, and it discusses the benefits of outdoor recreation to health and wellness, community, and workforce recruitment and retention. Finally, the report documents the efforts being made — nationally and in Wyoming — to conserve and steward natural spaces so that they remain healthy and vibrant for future generations.

Other interesting statistics include:

  • Wyoming snowmobile users spend an average of $98 per day and non-residents spend $160 per day. Wyoming has 2,585 miles of snowmobile trails.
  • Snow activities like skiing and snowshoeing contribute over $108 million in estimated G.D.P.
  • Almost half of the trails within Wyoming allow equestrian use. This contributes over $60 million annually to the state’s G.D.P.
  • A third of the trails in Wyoming allow for bicycle use. Bicycling contributes $2.2 million to the state’s annual G.D.P.
  • Wyoming attracts over 500,000 recreationists for wildlife viewing annually.
  • In 2020, hunting and fishing license sales generated $33.8 million. Hunters, anglers, and wildlife watchers bring around $1 billion into the state each year
  • All users of Wyoming’s 2,160 hiking trails account for $404.9 million in direct economic profit and $19 million to the state’s G.D.P.
  • RVing – and the state’s 370 RV parks and campgrounds – contributed over $85 million to the state’s GDP in 2021.
  • Rock climbing generates $4.5 million in visitor expenditures and 51 jobs annually in Lander alone.

“We were excited to work on this project with the Wyoming Office of Outdoor Recreation to highlight the contributions of this important industry to Wyoming,” says Dan McCoy, interim director of the WORTH Initiative. “This report demonstrates the extent to which Wyoming’s amazing outdoor activities contribute to the lives of our citizens in so many different ways.”

WORTH Outdoor Rec Jobs 2021

Courtesy WORTH

The WORTH Initiative seeks to support, expand and diversify Wyoming’s economy through outdoor recreation, tourism, and hospitality industries.

WORTH provides a number of services to these industries, including applied research, educational products, and outreach. WORTH was initially made possible by Gov. Mark Gordon’s Wyoming Innovation Partnership initiative.

For more information, visit www.uwyo.edu/worth; or call McCoy at (307) 766-5009 or email dan.mccoy@uwyo.edu.

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