REPORT: Washington’s outdoors are worth billions of dollars in revenue, clean water and more

January 30, 2015

Washingtonians spend 56 days a year outside and that generates big business.

How much? Here are just a few highlights from a report released this month by Earth Economics:

  • $21.6 billion is spent every year on outdoor recreation trips and equipment on both public and private land in Washington.
  • Nearly 200,000 jobs are supported by outdoor recreation, more than the aerospace and tech industries in Washington.
  • $10.4 billion is spent on sightseeing and nature activities including $7 billion on wildlife watching and photography.
  • $8 billion is spent on activities around water, including fishing, boating, swimming and diving.
  • Out-of-state visitors play an important role—accounting for 12 percent of recreation days, but 27 percent of dollars spent on outdoor recreation. Every dollar spent by an out-of-state traveler in Washington generates $1.36 in economic impacts, resulting in a total of $4.6 billion in new money circulating in the state’s economy.
  • The recreation market is one of the largest markets in the state for moving income from urban to rural areas and building jobs.

Here’s what that means in your community:


The study, prepared for the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office by Earth Economics, at the direction of the Legislature led by Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, is the first comprehensive analysis of the recreation economy in Washington.

The Recreation and Conservation Office has more detailed county information on their website.