Montana’s outdoor economy has been booming in the last few years and hunters and anglers are a big contributor to that growth.
Visit any small Montana town in the fall and you will see an influx of camouflage. The hunters who come from both within and outside of the state are a major contributor to these towns local economy.
“[In} Montana $7.1 billion in consumer spending comes from the outdoor recreation economy, but not only is it the money brought in, but its jobs. And in Montana, 71,000 jobs are contributed to outdoor recreation. That’s 10% of the jobs in Montana [that] all circle back to outdoor recreation,” Montana Office of Outdoor Recreation Director Rachel VandeVoort.
Montana’s outdoor economy takes in everything from winter sports to springtime hikes to summer outings; camping and off-roading.
“Outdoor recreation is our way of life. I think it is 80% of Montanans think that outdoor recreation is an important part of their lives and over 90% feel that outdoor recreation is a huge contributor to our economy,” VandeVoort said.
The outdoor economy provides additional good paying jobs and tax revenue for communities and towns across Montana.
“Really, outdoor recreation is a just this diversification tool within those communities. And this is not just to attract non-residents as visitors. It is about us reinvesting into our communities and creating this amazing space to live our lives, its making good communities even better,” VandeVoort said.
In order to do this, many towns and leaders want to reinvest in the outdoors; like through trails and campgrounds, to help sustain the outdoor economy in the future.
“We are so spoiled here. I think we take it for granted so often, but how can we make sure with our population growth that we are maintaining and sustaining our recreation opportunities within the state.” VandeVoort said.
So that it is something we do have the ability to look forward to and we can make a plan and we can take control of that.
The Office of Outdoor Recreation was created by Gov. Steve Bullock in 2017.
-Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Winston Greeley reporting for MTN News