The outdoor recreation industry does more than bring joy to our county’s many residents and visitors: it helps drive our economy.

Each year, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) releases updated national statistics and state-level data on the outdoor recreation economy that recognizes the critical roles the industry plays in supporting economic growth in the United States.

Annual Gross Economic Output

The Bureau of Economic Analysis calculates the economic output of outdoor recreation in Colorado to be $13.9 billion, surpassing industries such as mining, utilities, farming and ranching, and chemical products manufacturing.

Drivers of Job Creation

Outdoor recreation accounts for 130,000 jobs in Colorado; 4.3% of all employees in the State.







Mesa County

In 2022, Nathan Perry, PhD, Tim Casey, PhD and Johnny Snyder, PhD of Colorado Mesa University conducted an Economic Impact Study of Outdoor Recreation in Mesa County. The study was commissioned by both the State of Colorado Office of Economic Development and Trade and ZOMALAB. Below is a comprehensive report of their findings.

  • The total direct economic impact of outdoor recreation, including outdoor recreation businesses and outdoor recreation tourism is $321,625,137, or 4.8% of GDP. When including indirect (supply chain) and induced spending effects, the GDP impact rises to $484,474,065, or 7.2% of GDP.
  • The direct job impact is 7,620, or 8.4% of total jobs. When including indirect and induced effects that number rises to 9,897, or 11% of jobs. This job number includes full and part-time employment.
  • The direct impact of outdoor recreation businesses on Mesa County is $131,254,953, or 1.9% of GDP. Including indirect (supply chain) and induced spending effects, the outdoor recreation industry businesses contribute $190,673,455 to county GDP.
  • The direct employment impact of outdoor recreation businesses is 3,690, and after indirect and induced effects, the total impact to county employment is 4,501. Survey data shows that 60% of these jobs are full time and 40% are part time.
  • The direct county GDP contribution is $227,247,122, equating to 3.3% of Mesa County GDP.
  • The direct employment impact is 4,743, and considering indirect and induced effects, the total employment impact of outdoor recreation tourism is 6,478, creating $190,139,531 in wages.
  • Outdoor recreation tourism equates to 5.2% of total employment and counting indirect and induced effects that number rises to 7.2% of employment. Converting this employment number to full time equivalent (FTE) shows 4,034 in direct FTE employment and 5,510 in total FTE.

Join Our Family
of OREC Businesses

The Grand Valley’s mild climate, diverse terrain, and experienced industry network create the perfect blend of testing ground and playground. Companies including DT Swiss, Leitner-Poma, Loki, QuikR, Rocky Mounts, and Mountain Racing Products are just some of the outdoor specialists that call the Grand Junction area home.

If interested in starting an outdoor industry company in our valley or relocating your business, please reach out to our good friends at the Grand Junction Economic Partnership.

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