Out of doors Recreation Added Almost $14 billion to PA’s Economic system in 2021, Up 22 P.c from 2020


The sector supported 152,000 full-time jobs over the same period.

Harrisburg, Pa — The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced today that outdoor recreation has contributed $13.64 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy, accounting for 152,000 jobs and 1.6 percent of Commonwealth gross domestic product (GDP) equal to .

“This latest round of economic data proves once again that Pennsylvania’s outdoor recreation excellence is the product of our remarkable landscapes and strong partnerships,” said Nathan Reigner, director of Pennsylvania Outdoor Recreation. “Outdoor recreation continues to be a thriving and significant industry within the Commonwealth and this data helps us better understand what we are doing well while providing guidance on where we are growing this industry for its own sake and life of the people of Pennsylvania can improve. Unlike economic development through other industries, development through outdoor recreation also stimulates physical health, mental well-being, social cohesion and environmental sustainability.”

The $13.6 billion in outdoor recreation that contributed to Commonwealth GDP is up 22 percent from 2020 and the increase of 2,000 full-time equivalents is up 4 percent from 2020. Pennsylvania has the sixth largest outdoor recreation economy in the country, supported by a combination of exceptional recreational facilities, a generally diversified economy, and strong retail, manufacturing, and tourism sectors.

Among core outdoor activities, recreational vehicle (RV) camping is the largest single contributor to Pennsylvania’s outdoor economy, exceeding $700 million in value creation in 2021, a 17 percent increase from the prior year. RVing is followed by significant economic contributions from boating and fishing ($555 million); Hunting, Shooting and Trapping ($354 million); and ATV and Motorcycling ($304 million). These and other recreational activities also fuel economic productivity in supporting industries, including nearly $4 billion in travel and tourism activity and more than $1 billion in local recreational travel by Pennsylvanians. Nationally, outdoor recreation generates $862 billion in economic output, which is about 3 percent of all jobs in America.

“Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis underscores the importance of investing in public lands, water bodies and infrastructure for all types of recreation in Pennsylvania,” said Jessica Turner, president of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR). “From creating jobs and increased profits for small businesses in the local economy to greater blessings for the state economy, this sector is a constant engine, even in times of economic uncertainty. The strength of the outdoor leisure economy reflects what many in the industry have long recognized as true: There are infinite benefits to be gained from having more people spending time outdoors, and they will only grow with continued investment.”

Reigner noted that recreational activities are diversifying, with new users being inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic and empowered by new recreational technologies from advanced equipment to more readily available information. Additionally, the advent of remote work has enabled a recreational-based lifestyle that attracts remote workers to become new residents in communities with plentiful and accessible recreational opportunities. He added that the Pennsylvania Office of Outdoor Recreation, established by DCNR, will work to grow the state’s outdoor economy through collaboration with other government agencies, businesses, communities, business developers, user groups and recreational resource managers.

“Pennsylvania’s outdoor recreation economy is large, diverse, and not well connected to either the state government or the economic development community,” Reigner said. “Our mission at the Office of Outdoor Recreation is to be a partner to Pennsylvania’s outdoor economy, understanding its needs and helping it thrive to reap the benefits of good health, vibrant communities, protected and connected natural resources and business opportunities.”

Although Pennsylvania’s total compensation for outdoor recreation ranks seventh among all states, the growth rate of compensation ranks 38th among all states. Noting that this is one area for Pennsylvania to make headway, Reigner noted that outdoor recreational workers make about 57 percent of the average Pennsylvania worker’s wage, $44,623 in 2021, compared to 77,884 US dollars for all paid jobs in the state.

Reigner will host a webinar on Tuesday, November 29 at 11:00 a.m. to discuss the Bureau of Economic Analysis statistics in detail and engage further with stakeholders. Register online for the webinar.

Visit DCNR’s website for more information on outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania

MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson, 717-877-6315

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