So-called “quiet recreation,” which includes camping, mountain biking, and hunting, has a major impact on Colorado communities near public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Royal Gorge Field Office, according to a study released today.
The analysis, conducted by ECONorthwest and commissioned by The Pew Charitable Trusts, found that quiet recreation pumped $54 million directly to communities within 50 miles of Royal-Gorge-area BLM lands, which run largely along the Arkansas River.
Quiet recreation is also responsible for nearly 700 jobs there.
The region notched 1.2 million non-motorized visits out of 7.7 million visits to Colorado’s BLM lands in 2015, the period covered by the study, with camping being the most popular activity, according to the report.
Quiet recreation doesn’t include activities, like off-road vehicle recreation, that rely primarily motorized equipment.
“We value recreation in our state. Colorado may be most commonly recognized as being the #1 destination in the nation for overnight ski visits. However, 1.23 million visits a year for quiet recreation on Easter Colorado’s BLM lands is not surprising as residents and tourists are taking advantage of the region’s unparalleled opportunities for camping, hiking, climbing, hunting, biking and rafting. In order to ensure that our rural communities continue to thrive we will promote a conservation ethic that elevates the connection between outdoor recreation and the economic and financial viability of communities and the state.” said Luis Benitez, Director of Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, in a news release.
“The fact that 1.23 million non-motorized visits are taken to Eastern Colorado’s BLM lands per year is testament to the economic benefit these lands provide” said David Leinweber, Chairman of the Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance in a news release. “Our customers and employees are active outdoors people. They fish, hike and hunt on our public lands. The easy access and close proximity of BLM lands is essential to our ability to engage in these activities and be a successful company. This study is the latest evidence that outdoor recreation is not only a key reason why we call Colorado home but also fuels our local economies.”
The report is titled “Quiet Recreation on BLM-Managed Lands in Eastern Colorado.”