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Outdoor recreation - Oregon's 'economic multiplier'

June is Great Outdoors Month, which also underscores the importance of outdoor recreation in Oregon.

As temperatures warm up, people are enjoying nature. Five years ago, Congress designated June Great Outdoors Month to highlight the trove of outside opportunities across the nation. With a half dozen national park sites also state parks, Oregon has a plethora of places for people to get outside.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said outdoor recreation provides a big boost to the state’s economy.

“When people go into the forest, they load up on fuel and supplies and equipment and maybe they’re going to stay overnight,” Wyden pointed out. “They’re going to have meals and stop for a craft brew afterward, and it’s a big economic multiplier.”

Outdoor recreation generates $7.5 billion in Oregon, according to the roundtable, and supports 73,000 jobs. Nationally, outdoor recreation accounts for 2.2% of the country’s GDP.

Whitney Potter Schwartz, senior vice president of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, said getting outdoors is proven to be good for people’s health and her organization wants to ensure everyone has access.

“There’s so many benefits,” Potter Schwartz emphasized. “Whether that’s health benefits, economic benefits, to being outside that we really, truly believe everyone should have that opportunity, regardless of your background or ability, to experience it and enjoy nature.”

The month recognizing the outdoors started as Great Outdoors Week under President Bill Clinton in 1998.

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