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.


How might you best set a table to help prepare for electric vehicle adoption and lessen disruption?

What are resident attitudes towards electric vehicles?

Are incentives to adopt EVs  disproportionately benefiting more advantaged groups?

How might your community support EV adoption in low-income communities?


Are residents able to access or implement the required infrastructure zoning codes?

Do you have EV infrastructure to support tourists and other transient populations?

Have you considered how on-street charging infrastructure will impact your streetscapes and sidewalks?

Is there location equity in how electric vehicles are adopted in your community?


Are electric vehicles a part
of your comprehensive plan?

Are you offering incentives for adoption, building public infrastructure, or waiting for the private market?

What will happen if gas taxes start to decrease - how will those funds be replaced?

How can your community 

create public-private 

partnerships to accelerate adoption and infrastructure build-out?



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.