UW Releases WORTH Report on Outdoor Recreation Benefits

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In 2021, the outdoor recreation industry generated $1.5 billion — or 3.6 percent — toward Wyoming’s gross domestic product (GDP). To put this in perspective, outdoor recreation in neighboring states Colorado and Utah contributed just 2.7 percent to their respective states’ GDPs.

The Wyoming Outdoor Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality (WORTH) Initiative at the University of Wyoming, in partnership with the Wyoming Office of Outdoor Recreation, has compiled a report to document several key elements of just how the industry contributes to Wyoming communities.

The WORTH report compares the economic contribution of different activities such as snow sports, hunting, fishing and off-roading and underscores how outdoor recreation directly supports more than 15,000 jobs in Wyoming.

The report also describes the natural features in Wyoming that draw outdoor recreationists to visit, and it discusses the benefits of outdoor recreation to health and wellness, community, and workforce recruitment and retention. Finally, the report documents the efforts being made — nationally and in Wyoming — to conserve and steward natural spaces so that they remain healthy and vibrant for future generations.

“We were excited to work on this project with the Wyoming Office of Outdoor Recreation to highlight the contributions of this important industry to Wyoming,” says Dan McCoy, interim director of the WORTH Initiative. “This report demonstrates the extent to which Wyoming’s amazing outdoor activities contribute to the lives of our citizens in so many different ways.”

The WORTH Initiative seeks to support, expand and diversify Wyoming’s economy through outdoor recreation, tourism and hospitality industries. WORTH provides a number of services to these industries, including applied research, educational products and outreach. WORTH was initially made possible by Gov. Mark Gordon’s Wyoming Innovation Partnership initiative.

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