Law & Order

Federal Government Acknowledges Economic Contributions of Outdoor Recreation

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (center), U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis Director Brian Moyer (left) and U.S. Department of Interior Senior Advisor Rick May presented at the ORR briefing on Capitol Hill.

SEMA and other Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) member organizations welcomed a federal government final report documenting the significant economic impact of the outdoor recreation economy. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) found that the outdoor recreation industry contributed $412 billion to the nation’s economy in 2016 (the last available year of data), which represented 2.2% of U.S. Gross Domestic Product. Of note, motorized recreation and motorcycling accounted for more than $20 billion in economic activity.

For SEMA members, the range of products associated with outdoor recreation goes beyond the four-wheel drives, ATVs and UTVs often linked with off-roading. It includes tires, wheels, suspension, tuning and myriad other products for highway vehicles and for towing trailers, boats and other vehicles to their destinations. Given the importance of the off-road market, SEMA joined the ORR, which is comprised of more than 20 industry associations, representing off-roading, camping, fishing, boating, hiking, archery and other sports. The group provides a unified voice for outdoor recreation and is committed to pursuing federal policy reforms for rebuilding the nation’s recreation-related infrastructure and improving visitor experiences on our nation’s public lands.

The BEA report is a milestone for the outdoor recreation industry, which has long called for its sector to be formally included in government economic analysis. To mark the announcement, ORR held a Capitol Hill briefing with key federal officials, including U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, BEA Director Brian Moyer and U.S. Department of Interior Senior Advisor Rick May.

For more information, contact Eric Snyder at