In 2014, a study prepared for the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) found that outdoor recreation statewide generates $21.6 billion a year in spending on trips and equipment. Over $477 million of that was attributed to Chelan and Douglas counties. That study quantified what had already been widely acknowledged… that outdoor recreation has become a major player in the world of economic impact in our 2 county area. It became evident, through a series of discussions with those connected to outdoor rec here, that there was a need to dig deeper. To get a much better understanding of the origin and significance of outdoor rec, so that a foundation of knowledge and insight would be available as critical decisions are made that affect this industry moving forward.
In an effort coordinated by the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce and supported by a number of key industry stakeholders and economic development entities, an in-depth study is being conducted this year. ECONorthwest, a firm that has extensive familiarity in a number of economic studies in North Central Washington, was hired to conduct economic analysis. This has resulted in months of data-gathering, interviews and other fact-finding research. Now, the next critical component of the study has begun: The release of an economic impact survey on outdoor recreation for the 2-county area. This survey is designed for residents and visitors to offer input on a wide variety of subjects concerning outdoor rec here, such as:
What value do residents place on outdoor recreation here? Is it mostly for the benefit and enjoyment of a healthy lifestyle, or as a driver to help ensure increased economic vitality in our region?
What is really driving people interested in outdoor recreation to make the decision to come here, for a weekend or a lifetime? What are our strengths, or weaknesses compared to other regions?
As we ponder on how to move forward in creating more or improved outdoor recreation opportunities for residents and visitors, what economic opportunities will those investments bring?
A wide range of participation from locals to visitors is critical for the success of this project. You’re encouraged to be a part of the research that may very well help define the future direction of outdoor recreation in our region. The online survey can be found at http://bit.ly/2aHsbkq or go to our homepage. The survey will be available until approximately October 15. We encourage you to participate, and to share this access link with others!