You knew you were spending a lot on your outdoor adventures.  Now the federal government has announced it will launch a major initiative to measure and quantify the outdoor industry’s impact on the U.S. economy.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewel used a recent event at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington D.C. to unveil the effort.  For the first time the federal government will quantify the value of the outdoor recreation sector in its annual jobs and economic impact report.

Currently, the U.S. government counts other sectors — like oil and gas, ranching, manufacturing, travel and tourism and the arts — but has yet to include outdoor recreation as a part of Gross Domestic Product reports, despite the fact that the outdoor industry is a massive economic engine for the U.S. economy and economies in all 50 states.

The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) was quick to applaud the move.

“The federal government clearly understands that the outdoor industry and the outdoor recreation economy are not simply ‘nice to haves,’ but are ‘must haves’ to support healthy communities and healthy economies across the United States,” according to a press release.

According to the OIA’s own “Outdoor Recreation Economy” report, outdoor recreation is directly responsible for 6.1 million jobs, $646 billion in direct consumer spending each year, and produces $40 billion in federal tax revenues.

Photo credit: Dreamstime