CA outside recreation price $54 billion per yr

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According to the latest federal data, California ranks number one in the country for dollars spent on camping, hiking, rock climbing, and biking.

The latest Bureau of Economic Analysis report also cites boat and RV travel as the state’s most lucrative outdoor sector.

Katie Hawkins, California program manager for the nonprofit Outdoor Alliance, said outdoor recreation added $862 billion to the national economy in 2021.

“Outdoor recreation accounts for 1.6% of the state’s GDP,” Hawkins reported. “It employs approximately 517,000 people and accounts for $54 billion in spending.”

Proponents are asking Congress to pass America’s Outdoor Recreation Act, which includes the Public Lands Act. The latter would add more than 600,000 acres of wilderness protection land and protect more than 580 miles of rivers in the state’s Northwest, Central Coast and Southern California.

Opponents say current safeguards are sufficient and warn that additional regulations could stifle economic activity in mining, logging and oil and gas.

Hawkins countered that the bills would help California meet its goal of protecting 30% of land and water by 2030, which would help fight global warming and sea level rise because undisturbed land sequesters carbon.

“Here in California, we’ve seen firsthand the profound effects of climate change, with increasingly severe wildfire seasons, droughts and heat waves,” Hawkins noted.

Conservation groups are urging lawmakers to put the bills to a vote during the lame duck session before the end of the year.

Support for this reporting has been provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

References: Economic Data on Outdoor Recreation US Bureau of Economic Analysis 11/09/2022

Senate Act 3266 2022

Senate Act 1459 2022

Written by Suzanne Potter, Producer, Public News Service