Our opinion: State’s back yard offers so much

If you resolve to do anything this year … get outdoors!

Benefits to your health and well-being come first, of course. But the rewards are far-reaching to your community and the businesses and venues that improve your quality of life.

A recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis – via a webinar sponsored by the Pennsylvania Departments of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) recently revealed – revealed that outdoor recreation added nearly $14 billion in economic value to Pennsylvania’s economy.

“Understanding this data on a macro level is key in helping develop synergistic strategies to foster additional growth in outdoor recreation,” said Pennsylvania Director of Outdoor Recreation Nathan Reigner. “With this data, we are able to see the big picture of the economic impact outdoor recreation is bringing to the commonwealth. Digging deeper, we can follow the trail of the dollars from outdoor recreation to Pennsylvania’s manufacturing, retail, tourism, information, and service sectors.”

Pennsylvania has the sixth largest outdoor recreation economy in the nation, supported by a combination of its exceptional recreational assets, generally diversified economy, active participation by Pennsylvania residents, and strong retail, manufacturing, and tourism sectors. The $13.6 billion in economic value added also supports 152,000 full-time jobs in Pennsylvania.

Nationally, outdoor recreation generates $862 billion in economic output, accounting for approximately 3 percent of all jobs in America.

Though Pennsylvania’s total compensation for outdoor recreation work ranks seventh among all states, its rate of compensation growth is 38th among all states. Reigner noted this as an area where Pennsylvania can make progress, pointing to outdoor recreation workers making about 57 percent the wages of the average Pennsylvania worker, $44,623 in 2021, compared with $77,884 for all salaried jobs in the state.

We bring this up because of our region’s growing reputation as a hub for outdoor recreation. Hiking trails. ATV trails. Canoeing, kayaking and rafting. Camping. Hunting and fishing. Boating. Biking. There’s so much to offer in this beautiful, mountainous region we call home.

So get out and enjoy the outdoors in this New Year.


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