Report: Quiet recreation on BLM lands generated $54.3M into Colorado economy, created nearly 700 jobs

River Rafting
River rafting in the Arkansas River near the Royal Gorge / Mike Duran -- FOX21 News

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A new report about the economic contribution that quiet recreation has on Colorado’s economy reveals it is a significant economic driver in local communities.

The report titled “Quiet Recreation on BLM-Managed Lands in Eastern Colorado” shows that in 2015, the 1.23 million quiet recreation visits to Eastern Colorado’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands generated $54.3 million in direct spending within 50 miles of the recreation sites.

Officials say these funds then circulated through the state economy, resulting in $40.1 million in employees’ salaries, wages and benefits.

Additionally, the study shows that 693 Colorado jobs are supported locally as a result of the quiet recreation visits to BLM land.

“The fact that 1.23 million non-motorized visits are taken to Eastern Colorado’s BLM lands per year is testament to the economic benefit these lands provide” said David Leinweber, owner and president of Angler’s Covey Inc. and chairman of the Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance. “Our customers and employees are active outdoors people. They fish, hike and hunt on our public lands. The easy access and close proximity of BLM lands is essential to our ability to engage in these activities and be a successful company. This study is the latest evidence that outdoor recreation is not only a key reason why we call Colorado home but also fuels our local economies.”

Non-motorized (quiet) recreation activities include camping, hiking, climbing, hunting, mountain biking, and rafting on public lands.

The most popular recreation was camping at 28 percent, followed by Off Highway Vehicles (OHV) at 16 percent and hiking at 12 percent.

Officials say this report is the first ever to quantify both the amount of quiet recreation and the spending associated with quiet recreation specifically on BLM lands in this region of Colorado.

BLM oversees 246 million acres of public land across 11 western states and Alaska. BLM manages more than 8.4 million acres of public land for multiple uses.

Eastern Colorado’s Royal Gorge BLM field office oversees some 658,000 acres of public land.

 

 

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