According to a recent report for the USDA, America’s National Forest and Grasslands are not only a great place to spend your recreation time, they’re also a great place to spend your recreation dollars. National Forest and Grasslands, by their sheer existence, are a magnet for tourism and a massive economic force.
Here are the numbers . . .
223,000 – Jobs created by forest and grassland recreation, mostly in rural areas . . .
13,000,000,000 – Dollars spent in these communities in 2010
94 – Percent of visitors who were satisfied with their recreation experience
95,000,000 – People who come to forests and grasslands primarily for physical activity
The study was conducted in 2010 with input from 44,000 visitors. Recreation was the main reason anyone came to the national forests and grasslands. Here is a link to the press release which also contains a link to the actual data.
The critical importance of recreation is very clear from this study. Where the opportunities exist, people will take advantage of the chance to get outside and pursue their favorite sport or activity. And while their in the area, they’ll spend some of their money too. This helps keep small, local economies running.
It is probably safe to say that most of these numbers came from National Forests as opposed to National Grasslands. National Forests are bigger, better known, and have more facilities. But given the impressive numbers, it seems that’s all the more reason to add more recreational development to the National Grasslands. They remain a largely untapped resource for recreation activities and dollars. The time has come to bring them into the spotlight, and promote a new kind of outdoor adventure.
The Great Plains Trail can be a big part of that effort.