Outdoor recreation in Idaho supports more than 77,000 jobs, $6.3 billion in consumer spending, $1.8 billion in wages and $461 million in state and local tax revenue, according to a report from the Outdoor Industry Association.
"Idaho has many world-class recreation areas mountains, rivers and desert canyons that draw people to the state from throughout the world," said Mike Lanza, an outdoor author and blogger in Boise and the Northwest editor for Backpacker magazine. "When people come here to experience these places, they spend money on new gear for the trip as well as on food and lodging."
In a news release, Lanza and other members of the Idaho Outdoor Business Council, a new coalition of businesses and recreation groups, said they hope Idaho's elected leaders take note of the outdoor industry's economic impact and take steps to nurture it.
"Easy and convenient access to Idaho's public lands, such as hiking and biking trails in the Boise Foothills or going rafting on the Payette River make it nearly effortless to engage in outdoor recreation," said Chris Callanan, a council member who is marketing director for Aire, a Meridian manufacturer of inflatable whitewater rafts. "It's important to protect and enhance these resources because they're getting more popular all the time."
The council said outdoor recreation accounts for 13 percent of Idaho's total jobs and employs about the same number of people as retailing.
The figures were calculated by Southwick Associates, a research firm that specializes in shooting sports, hunting, angling, natural resource and environmental economics.