Maine Outdoor Brands News

New Report Details Outdoor Recreation’s Economic Impact in Maine and Nationally

By November 10, 2020No Comments

Maine ranks in the top five across the country in the value outdoor recreation adds to statewide GDP

PORTLAND, Maine (November 10, 2020) – For the second year, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released statistics showing the role that outdoor recreation plays in each state’s economy. According to the report, which focuses on 2019 data, Maine’s outdoor recreation industry makes up a larger percentage of the state’s economy than in almost any other state – ranking in the top five among Hawaii, Montana, Florida, Vermont, and Wyoming. 

Compared to the rest of the United States, Maine is uniquely positioned to be a leader in the outdoor recreation space. Key 2019 Maine highlights show that:

  • Outdoor recreation made up 4.2% of Maine’s economy – double the national average.
  • Maine is one of the top five states in the country in the value outdoor recreation adds to statewide GDP.
  • Outdoor recreation continues to support more than 40 thousand jobs in Maine, accounting for 4.7% of employment.
  • From 2018 to 2019, the outdoor recreation employment and compensation in Maine grew faster than the U.S. average.

“This report provides further proof that Maine’s outdoor recreation economy is one of the strongest in the nation,” said Jenny Kordick, Executive Director of Maine Outdoor Brands. “What sets Maine apart is our wealth of outdoor assets, which support outdoor activities in all seasons and can be a growing source of sustainable job growth. This has been especially evident during the pandemic, as Mainers and visitors alike have spent more time than ever outdoors, many trying things like camping and boating for the first time. This report underscores why we should be investing more in recreation infrastructure, entrepreneurs, and a strong workforce that is the backbone of our growing outdoor recreation economy.”

“The Maine Marine Trades Association is pleased with the recent BEA data showing the significance of our world-class waters, boats, boating, and related economy for the state,” said Stacey Keefer, Executive Director of Maine Marine Trades Association. “The important number that is missing, however, is how much larger our employment percentage and growth could be if we had more qualified and interested workers for the marine trades and recreational boating sector.”  

The 2019 outdoor recreation data was compiled from existing statistics on the state and national economy and includes the economic impact of conventional outdoor activities, including camping, hiking, boating, and hunting. It also covers other parts of the economy such as gardening and outdoor festivals, as well as construction, travel and tourism, and local trips that support the above activities.

Outdoor recreation has seen increased interest during the pandemic, with consumer spending in a number of outdoor categories like camping, paddling, and biking experiencing explosive growth, according to NPD’s Retail Tracking Service data. Maine’s state park campgrounds set record attendance and a new fall update of the 2020 North American Camping report shows that nearly half of all campers either started camping for the first time in 2020 or restarted after having not camped in recent years.

Maine became the 12th state to establish an Office of Outdoor Recreation last year. MOB worked with Maine’s Department of Economic & Community Development to encourage creation of the office to advance Maine’s outdoor recreation economy. The Office of Outdoor Recreation became permanent on July 1, 2019.  

For more information about this study and what it means for the state of Maine, contact Jenny Kordick, Executive Director of Maine Outdoor Brands at jenny@maineoutdoorbrands.com. 

About Maine Outdoor Brands

Formed in 2017, Maine Outdoor Brands (MOB) works to unite and provide a voice for Maine’s outdoor industry in order to strengthen Maine’s outdoor recreation brand and economy. MOB is committed to seeing Maine-based outdoor product, service, and retail brands thrive. The organization was formed by leaders from Blaze Partners, Good To-Go, Flowfold, Trailspace and Stabil (now owned by Implus) in 2017. To learn more and see brands involved visit maineoutdoorbrands.com.