Economic Impacts


From our Research Library:
Updated economic data shows the growing outdoor recreation industry contributed $8.7 billion to Wisconsin's gross domestic product in 2021, and the Office of Outdoor Recreation has made strides in strengthening the industry through resources, tools, guidance and inspiration.

A look at the economic activity generated by the ATV/UTV industry in Wisconsin for calendar year 2023. Read th​e summary report.

A snapshot of the economic impact of the outdoor recreation industry in Wisconsin, including contributions from top activities, total employment and additional insights.

The first comprehensive report on the economic impact of Wisconsin's outdoor recreation industry detailing the critical contributions of the $7.8 billion indu​stry.

The Wisconsin Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plans (SCORP) evaluates outdoor recreation supply, demand, trends, and issues every five years.

Select "State Economies" and "Wisconsin" to view visitor spending, ​jobs, labor income, value added and economic output generated by National Park visits in Wisconsin.

The Ice Age Trail Alliance (IATA) in partnership with the Fiscal and Economic Research Center (FERC) at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater analyzed and quantified the economic impact of the Ice Age Trail.

Staff and students working for the Survey Research Center at UW-River Falls were instrumental in the completion of this study. The spending of CAMBA users is estimated to have boosted the Bayfield and Sawyer County economies with a total impact of $7.8 million.

Prepared by the Governor's Bicycle Coordinating Council to show the contributions of bicycling to Wisconsin's economy.

The American Sportfishing Association reported 2,087,000 anglers spent $1.2 billion while fishing in Wisconsin in 2021​.

An economic impact analysis of an enhanced bikeway network in La Crosse.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension Department of Urban and Regional Planning found that on average, the active silent sports enthusiasts reported spending about $468 per trip with about $260 locally within Ashland, Bayfield, and Sawyer counties.

A case study of Cheese Country Trail users and their economic impact in the southwest region of Wisconsin.

The properties managed by the Wiscons​in Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Parks and Recreation serve as important drivers of local economic vitality within gateway communities across the state. On average, individual trip spending of visitors to these state properties ranged from almost $41 per day (State Forests) to over $90 per day (State Trails).

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service survey of number and economic impact of anglers, hunters and wildlife watchers.

A report estimating the value of bicycling to tourism and health in Wisconsin and reviewing the potential to increase that value in the face of changing demographics, lifestyles, and the economy prepared by the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment University of Wisconsin-Madison.


The development option provides financial resources to commission or purchase research, including data that measures the economic impact of the visitor on the local economy. Projects must be a partnership of three communities that will all benefit. A second year can be applied toward marketing efforts resulting from the research. Up to $10,000 per community or $39,550 total.
Applications are due by April 1 and September 1 each year.

Economic Impact Study Consultant List
A list of colleges, universities and private consultants who may conduct an economic impact study for Wisconsin outdoor recreation projects and facilities. Compiled by the Office of Outdoor Recreation, updated March 1, 2024.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis measures the economic activity of industries across the national economy. ORSA measures the outdoor recreation economy.