Knoll Lake, Coconino National Forest
Published May 15, 2019
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In 2016, recreation spending—known collectively as the recreation economy—contributed in excess of $400 billion to the U.S. economy, accounting for 2.2 percent of the nation’s total GDP.
Simplified, one in $50 of all goods and services produced in the U.S. in 2016 was related to outdoor recreation.
This lucrative segment of the tourism sector can be particularly important to rural economies. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), America’s 193 million acres of National Forests and Grasslands support 200,000 full and part-time jobs and contribute more than $13 billion to local communities every year.
Importantly, resources are available for Native American Tribes looking to tap into this growing economic sector.
The USDA’s Rural Development (RD), for example, has a loan portfolio of nearly $216 billion, which can be used for financing infrastructure and business development projects. RD can also provide grants and loan guarantees to support reliable and necessary services such as water, energy, housing, broadband, schools and hospitals.
USDA Forest Service (FS) is also working with community partners, concessionaires and other local entities to identify links between FS recreation opportunities and new candidates for small business loans and services to enhance the local recreation economy, improving quality of life for locals and the level of services for visiting recreation enthusiasts.
The American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA), in partnership with the USDA, FS and RD, is offering an exclusive webinar to help Native American Tribes and Tribal entities identify those resources when looking to grow their own outdoor infrastructure.
For insider information, tune in to Resources for the Recreation Economy Webinar, on Thursday, May 16, at 2:00 p.m. EDT.