News & Opinion | December 1, 2016 9:00 am

Great News, Ma Nature: The Outdoor Industry Is Now an Official Part of Our GDP

Stop the press! Congress just agreed on something!

We’ve got great news for outdoor sports enthusiasts and/or people who like nature:

Congress just unanimously passed a measure called the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact, and it’s off to President Obama for signature.

The ratification of the bill will mean outdoor sports, trips, etc. will now be included in our national GDP alongside things like automotive purchases and the like. Given that consumers spend $646 billion (yes, billion) annually on the industry and it employs some 6.1 million Americans, that’s nothing to sneeze at.

Prior to the Outdoor REC, there wasn’t a clear model to assess the economic effects of something like, say, pollution from a coal plant. Now the government has a new tool to thoughtfully consider the fiduciary pros and cons of keeping the woods intact.

At a time when it feels like government is at constant odds and the environment is almost always on the short end of things, this bipartisan effort is a silver lining to an otherwise bleak news cycle.