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Outdoor Recreation is Big Business in CA

PHOTO: A hiker at Tassajara Creek in the Ventana Wilderness.
PHOTO: A hiker at Tassajara Creek in the Ventana Wilderness.
February 18, 2013

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Californians celebrating Presidents' Day in a national or state park are not only enjoying the great outdoors, they're improving the state's economy. A new report from the Outdoor Industry Association finds the state's outdoor recreation generates more than $85 billion in consumer spending each year and creates 732,000 jobs.

Laurel Williams, deputy conservation director for the California Wilderness Coalition, said this directly ties in with the need to preserve more lands as wilderness, national monuments and other protective designations.

"Wilderness is a limited commodity. We can't make any more of it, so if we lose it, it's gone forever," she declared. "So, it's really important that we protect the wildlands that we have."

Williams said that whether it's Yosemite, the southern deserts or the new Pinnacles National Park, these protected areas are bringing in dollars from residents and out-of-state visitors who are spending money on outdoor gear, food and other travel-related expenses.

The report found that nearly two-thirds of California residents participate in some type of outdoor recreation every year.

"All of those things add up to this industry and generating the money directly into local communities that are next to wild areas," Williams said.

On a national level, consumers spend $646 billion a year on outdoor recreation.

More information is at

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA