National Extension Tourism (NET): 2021 Conf. Proceedings


Importance of recreation to state economies

Newly compiled data by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis show that (Fig.1), in the year preceding the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset, the outdoor recreation sector contributed on average 2.1 percent of state GDP in 2019, or $459.8 billion (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2019). The highest shares at the state level are found in the intermountain West, upper New England (especially Vermont, with 5.2%), and Florida. In general, these states also are areas with high levels of natural amenities (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, 2019). Despite the importance of the sector to many rural economies, only a few Extension services offer significant outreach programming (see Arbogast et al. 2022). Figure 1 State Outdoor Recreation Value Added as a Percent of State GDP, 2019

Source: Retrieved from U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis at: recreation-satellite-account-us-and-states-2019, Updated state-level data are available at:; recreation-satellite-account-us-and-states-2020

2021 NET Conference Proceedings


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