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Outdoor recreation has big $ impacts in C.O., U.S.

By Joe Burns
Published On: Mar 19 2013 08:56:01 PM CDT

Many people live and visit Central Oregon for its vast outdoor recreation opportunities, we share with you just how much impact it has on our economy.

BEND, Ore. -

According to a new report, $600 billion is how much Americans spend $600 billion every year on outdoor recreation. And the report says it's driving Oregon's economy.

Many Central Oregonians boast about where they live because of the year-round recreation activities.

On any given day you can go from rock climbing at Smith Rock to skiing in the mountains.

One Bend business marking its 30th anniversary helps guide residents and visitors alike to the best the High Desert has to offer.

Pete Keane, owner of Timberline Mountain Guides in Bend., knows first-hand the impacts outdoor recreation has economically.

"We have quite a few employees for our size," Keane said Tuesday. "And all of our clients come and they will eat here -- the hotels, they will do other activities around here."

Over the past three decades, Keane's business has led thousands of rock climbing and skiing tours, and 60 to 70 percent of his clients come from outside of our area.

"I just think that people want to get out of their regular lives and do things that are really exciting and are out of the norm," Keane said.

So just how many of you enjoy getting outdoors? It's estimated that 68 percent of Oregonians participate in some form of outdoor recreation.

"it doesn't surprise me, honestly," Keane said. "I think we are a pretty hardy group. We like to get out there and do stuff."

According to the Outdoor Industry Association report out this week, Americans spend $12.8 billion a year on outdoor recreation, supporting more than 140,000 Oregon jobs, generating $4 billion in wages and producing $955 million in state and local tax revenue every year.

Nationally, the group says more than 6 million American jobs depend on outdoor recreation.

That includes the 14 employees at Timberline Mountain Guides.

"I would like to think we helped out," Keane said.

So where does Oregon rank among the states?

A spokeswoman for the trade group tells us they don't compare states because it could be misleading, since there are many factors that contribute to each state's economy.

By the way, Timberline Mountain Guides plans a 30th anniversary party this summer. To learn more about the company, visit http://timberlinemtguides.com/

To read the full outdoor recreation economy report, visit the website outdoorindustry.org/recreationeconomy.

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