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Governor announces economic impact data for outdoor recreation industry, creates new council

Monday, October 29, 2018 -- GOCO
October 26, 2018

DENVER — Friday, Oct. 26, 2018 — Gov. John Hickenlooper today announced new economic contribution numbers from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) showing significant growth in Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy. The Governor also signed Executive Order B 2018-010 creating the Inter-Agency Trails and Recreation Council. The Council will advance the vision of the “Colorado the Beautiful” initiative and promote outdoor recreation and conservation in Colorado.

“Coloradans, and visitors, are taking advantage of our beautiful outdoor spaces,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “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.”

In 2017, outdoor recreation contributed $62 billion to Colorado’s economy and $35 billion to the state’s Gross Domestic Product - which is more than 10 percent. The impact of the outdoor recreation industry in Colorado has almost doubled since CPW's previous analysis in 2013.

For the first time, this analysis captures the economic impact 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.

“Colorado has seen dramatic growth in how the public utilizes our vast opportunities for outdoor recreation,” said Bob Randall, executive director of the Department of Natural Resources. “This speaks to the collaborative work done by government and non-governmental organizations to protect the land, wildlife and water resources that make the Colorado experience so exceptional.”

Outdoor recreation supports 511,000 direct jobs, comprising nearly 19 percent of the entire labor force in Colorado. Both rural and urban communities benefit from the economic contribution 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 northwestern corner of the state.

Gov. Hickenlooper launched “Colorado the Beautiful” in 2015 with the vision that, within a generation, every Coloradan lives within ten minutes of a park, trail, or open space. As Colorado’s population continues to grow and demographics diversify, it is important to provide a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities that serve the needs of an evolving public. The new Council will work to maximize existing opportunities that advance sustainable recreation for all Coloradans.

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.

Read the full executive order here and see the economic impact data here.