SALT LAKE CITY — A new report on Utah's outdoor recreation economy details that 70 percent of the state's residents participate in some sort of outdoor activity, generating 60 percent of the overall spending that eclipses tourist dollars.
Overall, the report by the Outdoor Industry Association says the outdoor recreation economy generates $12.3 billion in Utah and supports 110,000 jobs.
"This shows the spending that is going on in local communities," said Alex Boian, the association's vice president of governmental affairs. "It demonstrates that outdoor recreation and the outdoor recreation economy is extremely powerful in Utah's congressional districts."
The report released Tuesday, in fact, is the association's first look at outdoor recreation spending by residents in all the nation's 435 congressional districts, including the four in Utah.
Boian said the idea is to send a message both to residents and congressional delegations on the value of outdoor recreation and how it should be supported on public lands through advocacy, policy, laws and access.
"Our congressmen need to support policies that grow our outdoor recreation economy," he said.
The association posted an online searchable database that allows people across the country to delve into details on their particular congressional district.
In addition to residential spending, the group also included the number of outdoor recreation businesses in each district.
Numbers for Utah show that there are 247 of those businesses in the 1st District; 291 in the 2nd; 288 in the 3rd; and 176 in the 4th.
Residential spending on outdoor recreation in Utah's four congressional districts breaks out as follows: $1.85 billion in the 1st; $1.89 billion in the 2nd; $1.87 billion in the 3rd; and $1.77 billion in the 4th.
Popular recreation activities across the state include camping, trail sports, off-roading and fishing.6 comments on this story
Utah was the first state in the country to create an office of outdoor recreation, established by Gov. Gary Herbert in 2013 as a nod to the importance of its role in the state's economy and for quality of life.
The officedistributes grants in support of outdoor recreation activities, including improving trails. The deadline for applications in this year's grant cycle is Thursday.
Grant sizes will range from $5,000 up to $150,000. Over a three-year period, the office awarded $1.8 million for 63 projects.