By the Numbers
Whether you’re in the water, up a trail, or on the snow, Utah is heaven for the outdoorsy. With 82 percent of residents and nearly 15 million tourists heading outdoors each year, it’s no surprise that the industry contributes billions to the state’s economy.
Explore the Beehive State’s outdoor recreation business in-depth with these adventure-inspired stats.
The number of years Utah’s contract has been extended to host the Outdoor Industry Association’s summer and winter retail trade shows.
The semiannual event draws more than 20,000 attendees to Salt Lake City, showcasing products and expertise from countless industry retailers and enthusiasts. The event has been a boon for the outdoor-recreation sector ever since Utah began hosting in 1996. The contract was extended until 2018.
Source: Outdoor Retailer
The estimated number of outdoor-product companies in Utah.
Many popular outdoor retailers, including Backcountry, Goal Zero, Black Diamond, and Petzl, call Utah home. In addition to securing the best gear, Utahns—and Marriott School grads—benefit from the employment opportunities. Utah is ranked first in the nation for the highest concentration of jobs—nearly 65,000—in the outdoor sporting-goods industry.
Source: Economic Development Corporation of Utah
The amount the outdoor industry contributes to Utah’s economy annually.
The ski industry makes up about a third of that revenue, bringing in big bucks with fourteen resorts that draw four million visitors each year. BYU recreation management professor Mat Duerden says this is just one of many elements that makes Utah a one-of-a-kind spot for the adventurous. “Utah is unique,” he says. “I’d be hard pressed to think of another state that’s got the kind of opportunities Utah has for outdoor recreation.”
Source: The State of Utah Outdoor Recreation Vision 2013, Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation, Outdoor Industry Association
The number of state governments with a designated Office of Outdoor Recreation.
Utah was the first state to establish an organization dedicated to the promotion of outdoor recreation. Created by Governor Gary Herbert in 2013, the office supports Utah’s vision to be a leading location for outdoor activities. And hiking enthusiasts can soon rejoice: the office’s latest project is a comprehensive trail database.
Source: Office of Outdoor Recreation
The year Provo placed second in Outside Magazine’s Best Towns in America contest.
The strong outdoor scene in Utah is also evidenced by the success of local retailers like Outdoors Unlimited, a BYU-based outdoor-equipment rental company. The company relocated in 2012 from its campus home to accommodate increased demand and inventory. Store employee Danny Walz says the company rents out ten to fifteen mountain bikes per week on average, and the store’s most popular rentals—nine paddleboards—are booked every summer weekend.
Source: Outdoors Unlimited, Outside magazine
The number of state parks in Utah.
Visitors to Utah state parks in the 2015 fiscal year surpassed four million and have historically brought in more than $67 million in revenue annually. Each year more than 700,000 outdoor buffs from Utah and elsewhere take advantage of park amenities for popular sports like mountain biking, trail hiking, caving, and rock climbing.
Source: Utah Economic and Business Review 2014, stateparks.utah.gov, The State of Utah Outdoor Recreation Vision 2013, Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation, Outdoor Industry Association
Written by Kasee Baldwin Bailey