A. Scott Anderson: Why Utah's outdoors contribute to economy, quality of life

Utah’s wide-open spaces, scenic vistas, outdoor recreation and beautiful travel destinations are immense contributors to Utah’s quality of life and economy.

The value is measured not just in the monetary value of tourism, hiking, rock-climbing, mountain biking, boating, hunting and fishing — but also in the intangibles of being close to nature, of escaping the hustle and bustle of the city, and in the mental and physical health benefits of spending time outdoors.

Earlier this year, two former political rivals joined forces to promote Utah’s incredible outdoor resources, particularly the economic value of our wide-open spaces. Republican Congresswoman Mia Love and her former Democratic opponent Doug Owens announced the formation of Utah Outdoor Partners, a business coalition that will provide data and research quantifying the importance of Utah’s outdoor assets.

Partnering with the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, the Salt Lake Chamber and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the new organization commissioned a study by the Gardner Institute that showed Utah’s outdoors were key to the success of Utah’s fastest-growing businesses.

The study showed that fast-growing businesses cited “access to recreation opportunities” and “Utah’s outdoor lifestyle” as the second and third most important reasons they located or expanded their business in Utah. The complete findings of the survey are available on Utah Outdoor Partners’ website.

Numerous studies have quantified the multibillion-dollar value of Utah’s outdoors. Utah’s outdoor recreation industry alone generates 110,000 direct jobs, $12.3 billion in consumer spending, $737 million in state and local tax revenue and $3.9 billion in wages and salaries.

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Deseret News Tue, 10/30/2018 - 08:36