Note: This release was originally distributed by the Office of Governor Tony Evers.

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers, together with Wisconsin Department of Tourism Secretary Anne Sayers and Wisconsin Office of Outdoor Recreation Director Mary Monroe Brown, today announced that the latest release of data from the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) shows that Wisconsin’s outdoor recreation industry contributed a record-breaking $9.8 billion to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022, growing 6.8 percent over the previous record set in 2021. 

“With over 800 miles of Great Lakes shorelines, more than 1,000 miles of Ice Age Trail, countless state parks, forests, trails, and green spaces, outdoor recreation is core to Wisconsin’s culture and identity, and it’s an important piece of our economy,” said Gov. Evers. “Each year, visitors from near and far come to Wisconsin to experience all our state has to offer, and whether they go snowshoeing and skiing or kayaking and camping, their travel supports local business owners and jobs in our communities. These record-breaking numbers are just further evidence that investing in outdoor recreation is an investment in Wisconsin’s economy and way of life.”

The report showed it was the highest contribution by the outdoor recreation sector since 2018, when the BEA started measuring the industry’s economic impact and releasing the figures annually. All topline metrics for the outdoor recreation industry in Wisconsin were record-breaking:*

  • $9.8 billion contributed to Wisconsin’s GDP (up 6.8 percent)
  • 2.5 percent share of Wisconsin’s GDP (up 0.1 percent)
  • 94,042 jobs supported (up 4.8 percent)
  • 3.1 percent of state employment (up 0.1 percent)
  • $4.7 billion in employee compensation (up 5.3 percent)

Wisconsin’s Motorcycling/ATVing sector contributed over $1 billion and ranks first among all states. Top contributing sectors by activity in Wisconsin’s outdoor recreation industry included:

  • Multi-use apparel and accessories: $1.15 billion
  • Motorcycling/ATV/UTV: $1.1 billion
  • Boating and Fishing: $710 million
  • RVing: $553 million

Notably, travel and tourism, as well as local trips (trips less than 50 miles) associated with outdoor recreation, grew to nearly $3 billion in 2022, increasing by 14.2 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively.

“The outdoors is consistently cited as a top reason visitors choose Wisconsin, and that is a credit to our amazing natural places and our passionate destinations, guides, and outfitters who welcome travelers to experience all our state has to offer,” said Tourism Secretary Sayers. “We’re incredibly proud of the work of the Office of Outdoor Recreation and their partners that enhances one of our top tourism products and drives economic impact for the state.”

“These historic numbers are a testament to the importance of the outdoors and the outdoor recreation economy to Wisconsin,” said Office of Outdoor Recreation Director Monroe Brown. “More than just a fun thing to do, outdoor recreation is big business and a solution for our local communities as it drives tourism, workforce attraction, and retention in all sectors of the economy.”

Nationally, the outdoor recreation industry posted record-breaking numbers, too. For the first time, the outdoor industry contributed more than $1 trillion in gross output to the U.S. economy, which accounted for 2.2 percent of the nation’s GDP. It grew nearly 2.5 times faster than the U.S. economy as a whole, at 4.8 percent, versus 1.9 percent for the U.S. economy. Nationwide, the industry employed nearly five million people.

“If there’s one thing to take away from the new BEA figures, it’s this: the state of the outdoor recreation economy is strong, and sustained investment in outdoor recreation and our shared public lands and waters pays dividends for our local and national economies and quality of life,” said Outdoor Recreation Roundtable President Jessica Turner. “Our industry continues to provide benefits to communities across the country—big, small, urban, and rural alike. We are thrilled to once again see the data reflect what we hear every day, that outdoor recreation is not a nice to have—but a necessity for healthy people, places, and economies.”

Additional information on Wisconsin’s outdoor industry can be found on the Office of Outdoor Recreation website at:

​For the national report and state-level data and tables, visit the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account section of the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis website at:

*Note: 2022 year-over-year percentage changes have been calculated using updated 2021 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data.