This month, the Obama administration signed into law an act that will require the government to treat outdoor recreation like it does other industries such as health care or energy. The Recreation’s Economic Contribution Act will require agencies to collect data about outdoor manufacturing, services and nonprofits and include those figures as a factor in the Gross Domestic Product.
Dominec Bravo is the administrator for Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails. He said the timing of the new federal law couldn’t be better for Wyoming since his agency is overseeing a new outdoor recreation task force.
“We’ve never really thought of ourselves as an industry,” said Bravo, “and I think in the last few years we’ve started to see that we really need to be talking in that business minded sense.”
Bravo says such data will also help state policymakers make informed decisions about how to grow the outdoor recreation sector. He says it brings in billions of dollars to Wyoming’s economy, but still could be more profitable.
Bravo said the definition of outdoor recreation in Wyoming is broad.
“That could be manufacturing companies, like Brunton up there in Riverton,” said Bravo, referring to a compass and monocular manufacturing company. “We also have the firearms industry which is part of the outdoor recreation economy like Magpul.”
Bravo says it also includes guiding services, hotels, retail and other sectors.