Access to Montana Public Lands Critical to Montana Jobs, Economy

Motorized vehicles largest contributor to outdoor economy

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today released the following statement after the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released a preliminary study confirming that access to public lands is critical to Montana jobs and the local economy. Montana’s outdoor recreation economy includes snowmobiling, hunting, hiking, fishing, bike riding and other outdoor recreation activities.

“It’s clear that increasing public access to public lands is a driving force for Montana’s economy,” said Daines. “Opening up non-wilderness, public lands to activities like biking, snowmobiling and hunting increases public access and continues to strengthen local economies that depend on outdoor jobs." 

Daines was a sponsor of the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act, which authorized the study. This is the first study to recognize outdoor recreation’s contributions as a unique part of United States gross domestic product (GDP). 

Report Highlights:

Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) show that the outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2.0 percent ($373.7 billion) of current-dollar GDP in 2016.  

Hunting/Shooting/Trapping activities generated $15.4 billion nationwide in 2016, with hunting accounting for over 60 percent of this value. 

Motorized Vehicles was the largest activity within conventional outdoor recreation in 2016, accounting for $59.4 billion of gross output. Recreational vehicles accounted for more than half of this value at $30.0 billion.

Outdoor Economy

U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)

Daines’ Work to Support Outdoor Recreation Economy:

On February 7, 2018, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on Daines' bill, the Protect Public Use of Public Lands Act, which expands public access to public lands in Montana.

On January 30, 2018, Daines sponsored the Guides and Outfitters (GO) Act, legislation to expand access to public lands by streamlining the permitting process for outfitters and guides on federal lands.

On December 7, 2017, Daines introduced legislation, the Protect Public Use of Public Lands Act, to protect public access and use of Montana’s public lands by implementing the Forest Service’s recommendation to release 449,500 acres of Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) in Montana.

On November 28, 2016, President Obama signed the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act into law.

On June 29, 2016, the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee voted the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act out of Committee.