Economic Impact Report

​​​​​​Outdoor recreation is a major economic driver for Wisconsin. From tourism to manufacturing to retailers and outfitters, it is a job-supporting industry that provides the quality of life Wisconsin residents enjoy. The following economic reports that detail the impacts of Wisconsin's outdoor recreation industry were produced by Headwaters Economics, a leading independent, bipartisan and nonprofit research firm.​

​Key Findings​

  • $8.7 billion contributed to the state’s gross domestic product
  • 89,360​​ jobs across diverse sectors 
  • $4.3 billion in compensation provided to Wisconsinites
  • ​Wisconsin is a national powerhouse in outdoor recreation manufacturing 
​​​​Read​​ the full economic data and impact report for more details on the outdoor industry's contributions to Wisconsin as well as how the Office of Outdoor Recreation works to support this vital industry.

Other Highlights

​I​​n 2020, the Office released a first-of-its-kind report that provided a comprehensive review of the economic impact of outdoor recreation industry in Wisconsin. Several studies showed impacts of outoor recreation are significant drivers of local economies, too.

  • 17 million visits annually to the Wisconsin State Park System drive more than $1 billion in spending per year. (In 2020, park visits increased by over 20% to 21 million.)
  • Driftless Wisconsin’s Kickapoo Water Trail attracts 16,000 paddler visits per year that generate $1.2 million.
  • The 47-mile Cheese Country Trail – an ATV/UTV trail in southwest Wisconsin – attracts 98,000 visits that create more than $15 million in spending in the area.
  • Silent sports enthusiasts spend about $14.7 million per year in Ashland, Bayfield, and Sawyer counties.