Sat, Feb

Report: Outdoors drives tourism in state — surprise!


It’s no secret to those of us living in Northern Arizona, and particularly Sedona and the Verde Valley, outdoor recreation is big business.

From the red rock trails to the water flowing through the high desert, our area offers a little something for everyone when it comes to getting outdoors.

Larson Newspapers Managing Editor Trista Steers MacVittieSpring break traffic jams are evidence of the area’s popularity, and the fact that many of the vehicles are equipped with bicycle or boat racks, or the passengers are dressed in hiking clothes or driving a Jeep indicates they came here to recreate.

A study released by Outdoor Industry Association, out of Boulder, Colo., examined the economic impact of outdoor recreation in each of the 50 states, and produced a separate report for each state.

Each report examines direct spending, jobs, salaries and tax revenue.

In Arizona, the report found — drum roll please — outdoor recreation drives our tourism-based economy.

According to the report, Americans spend $10.6 billion per year on outdoor recreation in Arizona.

This $10.6 billion supports 103,700 jobs, generates $3.3 billion in wages and produces $787 million in state and local sales tax.

Sedona and the Verde Valley, without a doubt, get a piece of that pie.

More and more Americans are dabbling in outdoor recreation each year, some just when they have the time on vacation; others on a regular basis.

The recreation industry is booming as Americans seek adventure offered in our country on public land.

Surrounded by U.S. Forest Service property, home to five state parks and fortunate to have several creeks and a river flowing through, our area is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.

Oh, and did I mention the weather is nice? So nice, in fact, outdoor recreation is possible year-round.

The outdoor industry is growing, and places that offer opportunities for recreation are becoming popular places to visit and live.

The Sedona Chamber of Commerce has known this secret for years after conducting visitor surveys, and the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce is also reaping the benefits as the Verde River becomes a more popular place to play.

While more people visit, pumping more money into the economy, it’s always important to remember forest management is key to ensuring we don’t exploit the natural resource people come here to enjoy.

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