National Forest recreation contributes millions to Pacific NW communities
PORTLAND, Ore. – March 15, 2018 – Recreation visitors to national forest lands provide significant economic contributions to local communities in Washington, according to a recent report by the USDA Forest Service.
National Forests in Oregon receive more than nine million visitors each year, and those in Washington receive more than 6.3 million annually.
Visitors spend approximately $448 million annually in communities near national forests in Oregon, and $290 million annually in communities near national forests in Washington State. This spending supports approximately 4,000 jobs in Oregon, and 2,100 in Washington, many in rural communities, and generates approximately $210 million in labor income for businesses and employees of these two states.
“National forests play an important role in the working economies of communities across the Pacific Northwest,” said Jim Peña, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester. “The numbers in this economic report demonstrate how important these public lands are to both forest visitors and local communities. The Forest Service is proud to work with partners, permittees, and local officials to connect visitors to their public lands and support the growing outdoor recreation economy.”
In the Pacific Northwest, hiking/walking (25% of visits), downhill skiing/snowboarding (16% of visits) and viewing natural features (14% of visits) are the most common recreation activities. About half of visits come from those who live within 60 miles of the forest boundary. Visitors from outside the local area spend between three and five nights away from home engaging in recreation activities and spending money in the area where they are staying.
The report, “Spending Patterns of Outdoor Recreation Visitors to National Forests,” published by the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station, compiles research based on survey data collected as part of the Forest Service’s National Visitor Use Monitoring program. This information is used to estimate the average spending per trip, the share of recreation visits, average people per party, various types of recreation activities, and other visit characteristics to assist in economic analysis of outdoor recreation use.
By Stephen Baker, USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region