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Our favorite stories about public lands and opportunities for you to get involved in protecting your outdoor experiences.


New Studies on the Economic Impact of Outdoor Recreation on Montana and Colorado National Forests

Tania Lown-Hecht

Photo credit:  Hunter Day

Photo credit: Hunter Day

Today, Outdoor Alliance released two new sets of studies on the economic impact of rock climbing, mountain biking, paddling, hiking, and snowsports on Montana’s Custer Gallatin National Forest and Colorado’s Grand Mesa, Uncompaghre, and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG).

Researchers from Eastern Kentucky university found that outdoor recreation in the Custer Gallatin National Forest in Montana generates $223.1 million in spending each year. The GMUG in Colorado generates $392 million in annual spending.

These two National Forests are currently in the midst of forest planning, a yearslong process to create new management plans for the forests that shape everything from where you can ride bikes, climb, and camp to potential new Wild & Scenic Rivers.  

Outdoor Alliance commissioned these studies to illustrate why human-powered recreation deserves to be a top priority for the Forest Service as it completes new management plans for these forests in the coming months.

Click below to view or download the reports:

 These studies show that these two forests generate a tremendous amount of economic activity, while also supporting local jobs and attracting both businesses and residents to Montana and Colorado. More than 90% of residents in both states said that they chose to live near the National Forests because of the unparalleled outdoor recreation opportunities they provide. Access to outdoor recreation also supports a strong local economy, making the regions attractive places for businesses and families to settle.