WYOMING — A recent report from the US Department of Commerce shows that Wyoming’s outdoor recreation industry continues to grow as an economic engine, accounting for $1.5 billion of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021.
In the past two years, outdoor recreation has added nearly $3 billion to the state’s economy; on track with the growing trends across the country in this sector.
In 2020, the outdoor recreation industry accounted for $1.2 billion of the state’s GDP. In 2021, that number increased by $3 million, which is 3.6% of Wyoming’s GDP.
Additionally, Wyoming ranked 6th among all states for growth in value-added from outdoor recreation in 2021. Since 2020, value added from outdoor recreation has increased 28.6% in Wyoming compared to a 24.7% increase in the United States.
Since 2020, employment in Wyoming’s outdoor recreation sector has increased by 18.4% and accounts for 5.4% of the state’s total employment. Nationwide, outdoor employment grew by 13.1%.
“I think what we’re seeing is the inherent value that the outdoor recreation economy has in a state like Wyoming,” said Patrick Harrington, manager of the Wyoming Outdoor Recreation Office. “People across the state look to this industry as a vehicle for economic diversification and vitality for our local and state economies.”
Unprecedented visits across Cowboy State in 2020 continued as late as 2021, with both national and state parks posting record-breaking statistics.
Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks both documented record numbers, hosting a combined 8,745,787 recreational visits. Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites hosted a total of 5,755,184 visitors in 2021, down 2% from 2020 but 25% above the five-year average.
With record attendance, many outdoor leisure activities also saw significant growth in 2021, with some exceeding pre-pandemic value. Snow activities added $108,258 and jumped from 13th to 12th in value creation. RV, motorcycle and ATV rides, rock climbing, equestrian, biking and recreational flying also saw steady gains across the board, which combined added $166,423, or an increase of 11%.