Press Room

Maine’s Economic Powerhouse: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis Highlights Evergreen Outdoor Economy Gaining Momentum

AUGUSTA, ME — November 20 — The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has released economic data for 2022 exhibiting outdoor recreation’s powerful and positive economic impact on the U.S. economy. The outdoor recreation economy in Maine grew an impressive 16.5% from 2021 to 2022, according to the BEA Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account. This year’s report shows that outdoor recreation creates $3.3 billion in value added for Maine, accounts for 3.9% of Maine’s GDP and supports 32,000 jobs.  

This is the largest recorded measure for Maine since the BEA started calculating the size of the outdoor recreation economy in 2017. These new findings reflect that Maine is ranked #6 of all states in the value outdoor recreation adds to a state’s economy.

This is the sixth consecutive year that the BEA has released government data on this influential industry sector. This most current release shows how the outdoor industry, which serves as a foundational element to the Maine experience and played a vital economic and social role throughout the pandemic, has since sustained remarkable growth and continues to bolster local economies. The outdoor recreation economy remains a steady source of strength nationally and a booming job creator locally.    

Key factors how the outdoor recreation industry contributed to Maine’s economy in 2022: 

  • Outdoor recreation made up 3.9% of Maine’s economy – making Maine one of the top 10 states in the value that outdoor recreation contributed to statewide GDP
  • 32,000 people work in the outdoor industry in Maine, a 7% increase from 2021
  • Maine’s outdoor recreation industry added 2,184 jobs
  • Manufacturing of outdoor recreation gear and equipment contributed $352 million
  • Outdoor Retail contributed nearly $850 million to Maine’s economy

Notable activities that contributed to Maine’s GDP in 2022:

  • Boating and Fishing — $412 million
  • RVing — $326 million
  • Outdoor apparel and accessories — $178 million
  • Snow Activities (includes skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling) — $68 million
  • Guided tours/outfitted travel — $66.5 million

Noteworthy Increases over 2021:

  • Snow activities (includes skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling) — up 36%
  • Guided tours/outfitted travel — up 26%
  • Sailing — up 20% 
  • Climbing/hiking/tent camping — up 16%

“Outdoor recreation isn’t just a pastime; it’s the heartbeat of our state’s economy,” says Jenny Kordick, Executive Director of Maine Outdoor Brands. “By boosting support for our outdoor gems and backing new and existing businesses, we’re not just meeting the growing demand for adventure but creating a wave of innovation and new jobs. We can seize the opportunity by continuing to invest in the great outdoors, and watch our economy thrive.”

As the BEA numbers reveal, ongoing investment in outdoor experiences is not just beneficial; it’s crucial for the well-being of Maine’s economy. This commitment is reinforced by the upcoming Maine Outdoor Economy Summit, presented by Maine Outdoor Brands and the Maine Office of Outdoor Recreation. 

“The importance of the outdoor recreation sector and how it is a consistent economic driver is reinforced with the new BEA data,” said Maine Office of Outdoor Recreation Director Carolann Ouellette. “It also reinforces the importance of continual investment that supports the stewardship of our natural assets and the innovative businesses that strengthen our economy.”

“We are pleased to know that recreational boating and fishing still hold a strong economic lead in Maine,” said Stacey Keefer, Executive Director of the Maine Marine Trades Association.”We believe those strong numbers reflect our world-class boating and fishing opportunities on both coastal and inland waters, plus the distinctive reputation of our boating related businesses.”

This year’s Maine Outdoor Economy Summit  (Nov. 29-Dec. 1) is set to be a dynamic platform, amplifying the voices and visions of Maine’s outdoor industry leaders. Fostering collaboration, ideation, and discussions on key factors influencing Maine’s outdoor sector, the summit will have a strong strategic focus on economic development, workforce initiatives, equitable access, and sustainability. Attendees of the Summit will kick off the strategic planning Roadmap, which will shape the long-term vision and direction for Maine’s growing outdoor economy. 

Maine Outdoor Brands continues to work to unite, grow, and give a voice to the state’s outdoor recreation industry, supporting knowledge sharing, collaborative marketing, and commerce efforts and access to professional resources. MOB is committed to seeing Maine-based products, services, and retail brands thrive, and today has over 180 member brands that are a part of the mission.



Isa Morton