Economic Development


Millennials Are Coming to America’s Small Towns. Millennials are being drawn to hiking and the great outdoors: According to the latest report from the Outdoor Foundation, U.S. participation in outdoor pursuits increased last year, with millennials showing the largest boost among all age groups. Millennials are in search of more affordable housing, larger lots, quality schools, and lower costs.

To remain competitive in the twenty-first century, policy agendas should focus aggressively on growing and attracting talent. Increasingly, businesses want to be based where talent wants to be, and for those people, factors such as housing, cost of living, and quality of life influence that decision.

Outdoor Recreation Strengthens Local Communities: Cities and towns across the country are tapping into the business of outdoor recreation, and with good reason. They recognize that outdoor recreation and open spaces are key ingredients to healthy communities, contribute to a high quality of life, and most importantly, attract and sustain businesses and families.

Where you have concentrations of high-wage workers you get increased demand for local services. From buying and fixing up homes and second homes, to car and boat purchases to increased demand for retail and hospitality concentrations of professionals and managers are driving local economies.

They fill their garages with bicycles, dirt bikes, backpacks, boats, skis, tents, hunting rifles and fishing gear. This is redefining the outdoor industry, an evolution that is evident in the growth of sales and jobs since 2006. In short, outdoor recreation is a growing and diverse economic super sector that is a vital cornerstone of successful communities that cannot be ignored. Most importantly, outdoor recreation is no longer a “nice to have,” it is now a “must have” as leaders across the country recognize the undeniable economic, social and health benefits of outdoor recreation.