Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account Moves Forward

Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account Moves Forward

Click picture for more information on ORSA

Outdoor recreation is an essential part of the American economy. According to industry numbers, the various business sectors within outdoor recreation generate $887 billion per year in economic activity and provide an estimated 7.6 million direct jobs. Now, thanks to strong support from the recreation industry, the federal government is working to develop a clearer picture of just how economically important outdoor recreation is. The government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) – with support from recreation industry groups like the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable (ORIR) – has established the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) as part of the effort to measure the economics of outdoor recreation. ORSA was created after the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives unanimously passed the Outdoor REC Act in November 2016.

BEA’s first step is defining just what constitutes “outdoor recreation.” The Bureau is working with experts in academia, the private sector and the Federal Recreation Council to develop two sets of prototype statistics using broad and narrow definitions of outdoor recreation.

  • BROAD: All recreational activities undertaken for pleasure that occur outdoors.
  • NARROW: Recreational activities undertaken for pleasure that generally involve some level of intentional physical exertion and occur in nature-based environments outdoors.

    The definitions themselves are still tentative as the Bureau continues to receive and incorporate feedback from the public. Once the prototype statistics are published in early 2018, there will be additional opportunities for interested parties to provide additional feedback.

    BEA hopes to be able to release prototype statistics based on those definitions in early 2018.

    The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) held a policy analysis seminar September 11 focusing on federal visitation and economic data. To see BEA Economist Tina Highfill’s presentation at the seminar regarding ORSA, click here (presentation begins at 03:30). To view and download Dr. Highfill’s presentation as a PDF, click here.

    To read ORIR's comments on ORSA, click here. For more information on ORSA, including how to make public comments, click the picture at the top of the article.