Silhouette of a kayak on a lake at sunset.

Wisconsin’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Grew 6.8 Percent in 2022

Investing in conservation is key in supporting Wisconsin's booming outdoor economy.

Wisconsin’s outdoor recreation industry contributed a record-breaking $9.8 billion to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP). Gov. Tony Evers, Wisconsin Department of Tourism Secretary Anne Sayers, and Wisconsin Office of Outdoor Recreation Director Mary Monroe Brown shared this news in a press release in early December.

The outdoors are consistently cited as a top reason that people choose to visit or live in Wisconsin and Governor Evers noted that, “with over 800 miles of Great Lakes shorelines, more than 1,000 miles of Ice Age Trail, countless state parks, forests, trails, and green spaces, outdoor recreation is core to Wisconsin’s culture and identity, and it’s an important piece of our economy.”

Milwaukeee Journal Sentinel adds that motorcycling and ATVing, boating and fishing, hunting, and bicycling are among the top outdoor recreation contributors to Wisconsin’s GDP. Over the past 30 years, the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program has invested nearly $1.3 billion in supporting projects that protect the streams, lakes, and lands that make these outdoor recreation activities available.

Outdoor Recreation Roundtable President Jessica Turner adds, “the state of the outdoor recreation economy is strong, and sustained investment in outdoor recreation and our shared public lands and waters pays dividends for our local and national economies and quality of life.”

Featured image by Sandor Weisz, 2011.

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