March 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 16

RESEARCH
Parks and Recreation Is an
Engine of Economic Activity
By Kevin Roth

P

ark and recreation professionals have a positive, lasting impact on
millions of people every day through their tireless efforts to deliver programming and amenities that advance mental and physical health, create climate-ready parks, and support equity and
inclusion. Local park and recreation agencies and their dedicated staff also
are engines of economic activity in their communities. This past spring,
NRPA's The Economic Impact of Parks report (nrpa.org/ParkEconReport),
conducted by the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, finds that operations and capital spending at local park and recreation
agencies generated more than $166 billion in U.S. economic activity and
supported 1.1 million jobs in 2017.
Another report from an agency of
the U.S. Department of Commerce
highlights the economic impact of
parks and recreation. The Bureau
of Economic Analysis (BEA) annually releases the Outdoor Recreation
Satellite Account report (tinyurl.com/
y4npypk2) that assesses the size
and contribution of the outdoor
recreation economy to the overall
economy. The most recent report,
published in November, finds that
outdoor recreation gross domestic
product (GDP) was $459.8 billion in
2019, the equivalent to 2.1 percent of
the total value of output produced by
the United States. Adjusting for inflation, the outdoor recreation economy grew 1.3 percent in 2019. (By
comparison, the entire U.S. economy expanded 2.1 percent during the
same time.)
The relative size of the outdoor
recreation economy varies significantly by state. The top six states in
terms of the percentage contribution
outdoor recreation makes to GDP:
*	 Hawaii - 5.8 percent
*	 Vermont - 5.2 percent
*	 Montana - 4.7 percent

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Parks & Recreation

*	 Florida - 4.4 percent
*	 Maine and Wyoming - both at
4.2 percent
BEA divides outdoor recreation
into three major categories: conventional, supporting and core activities. Conventional activities include
bicycling, boating, hiking and hunting, and is responsible for 30 percent
of the outdoor recreation economy.
Supporting activities, including construction, travel and tourism, local
trips, and government expenditures,
are responsible for 51 percent of the
outdoor recreation economy. Other
core activities (such as gardening
and outdoor concerts) fill out the remaining 19 percent of the outdoor
recreation economy.
BEA and NRPA analyses measure different things - BEA only
considers outdoor recreation activities, whereas NRPA looks at the
full spectrum of indoor and outdoor
offerings. Further, the NRPA study
narrows its focus to solely local public park and recreation agencies. In
contrast, the BEA report studies a
full spectrum of public and private
outdoor recreation organizations and

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companies, including manufacturing and retail sales associated with
outdoor activities, private-sector concerts and tourism.
But even though the analyses
may differ, their respective messages do not: parks and recreation
and outdoor recreation bring many
benefits, including a vital economic
contribution to local communities
throughout our nation.
This message may never be more
critical given the budgetary challenges facing many local and state governments. Nearly half of park and
recreation leaders responding to the
December 2020 NRPA Parks Snapshot Survey (nrpa.org/ParksSnap
shotDecember4) noted that their
agencies were facing cuts to operations spending this year, with a median reduction at 20 percent. A third
of park and recreation agencies were
slicing their capital budget, with a
typical reduction of 37 percent.
Now more than ever, park and
recreation professionals and their
advocates need to educate policymakers, key stakeholders and
the general public on their work's
broad impact. When combined
with the ability to deliver healthier and happier communities, your
agency's offerings are not merely a
" nice to have " luxury government
service. Instead, parks and recreation transforms our cities, towns
and counties into vibrant and prosperous communities for all.
Kevin Roth is NRPA's Vice President of
Research, Evaluation and Technology
(kroth@nrpa.org).


http://www.nrpa.org/ParkEconReport https://www.nrpa.org/parkssnapshotdecember4/ https://www.nrpa.org/parkssnapshotdecember4/ http://www.tinyurl.com/y4npypk2 http://www.tinyurl.com/y4npypk2

March 2021 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March 2021 - Parks & Recreation

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March 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
March 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com