top of page

Are you connected to the Outdoor Economy?

The outdoor recreation economy accounted for $374.3 billion of current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP) for the nation in 2020. 

Nationally the outdoor economy generates nearly $80 billion annually in tax revenues, split almost evenly between the federal government and state and local governments.

Fourth Economy’s analysis of the GAP Trail found that the GAP Trail alone generated $800,000 per mile in economic impact. State, county and local governments receive more than $8.7 million ($58,000 per mile) in annual taxes. Compared to maintenance costs
of $1,000 to $5,000 per mile for the trail, the outdoor economy represents assets that pay for themselves.
Fourth Economy can
help communities
leverage their outdoor economy assets
Riding in the Forest

Four questions to consider

What are the outdoor recreation assets in my community?

Do all residents have access to outdoor recreation opportunities?

Do local regulations and policies (land use, zoning, etc.) support outdoor recreation?

Is my local government investing to maintain and enhance outdoor recreation assets?

Our Outdoor Economy assessment considers four areas that, when optimized, allow communities to realize the full potential of their outdoor economy assets.


What is the workforce needed for the outdoor economy?

What benefits do residents get from local outdoor economy assets?

How do you ensure the accessibility and availability of outdoor economy assets?


What are the critical gateways and hubs for the outdoor economy?

Do you have conservation, land use, and zoning policies that preserve and enhance the
potential for outdoor economy growth?

What visitors do your outdoor economy assets attract?


How can you leverage your infrastructure investments and capital spending to support the outdoor economy and generate a positive ROI?

Is the outdoor economy and recreation a part of your comprehensive plan?

How can your community create programming and public-private partnerships
to promote and link outdoor economy assets and activity?



How many jobs in your
community are part of the
outdoor economy ecosystem?

What is the full range of
new business opportunities
that will be created with the expansion of outdoor economy resources?


Is my community prepared
to capture new expansion
opportunities as the result of investment in outdoor economy assets?

Project Examples

Get in touch to find out more about our
assessment and planning capabilities

Fourth Economy is an economic development consultancy that uses analysis and engagement to help communities become more equitable, strategic, and resilient. 


Want to know more? Get in touch!

Watch our webinar: Promising Practices of Outdoor Economies

Silas Chamberlin, Ph.D., Vice President of Economic and Community Development, York County Economic Alliance moderated our panel of representatives from the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, East Coast Greenway Alliance, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, and PA DCNR about how they define the Outdoor Economy, the wide-ranging benefits of investing in outdoor recreation, how they are working with economic developers in their respective regions, and more.

bottom of page