Until very recently, Oregon and our nation did not track or fully understand the size and potential of the outdoor recreation economy. In 2017, the Outdoor Industry Association reported that 69% of Oregonians engage in outdoor recreation, generating $16.4 billion in consumer spending and 172,000 jobs across the state. According to newly released data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the outdoor recreation makes up 2.2 percent of U.S. GDP, generating $778 billion in gross output, supporting 5.2 million jobs nationally and growing faster than the economy as a whole.
In January 2019, Oregon State University launched the Outdoor Recreation Economy Initiative (OREI) to support this rapidly growing industry, serving outdoor private companies, nonprofits, and public agencies. The aim of OREI is to create workforce development and professional education programs that complement OSU’s existing outdoor-related degree programs and respond to the industry’s fast changing workforce needs.
The initiative is currently in Pilot Phase at OSU's Impact Studio.
OREI emerged from a series of state-wide strategic conversations led by Travel Oregon, the Governor's office, and Oregon's new Office of Outdoor Recreation, with a variety of community and agency stakeholders, all working to enhance the outdoor recreation economy in the state. OREI positively impacts the university’s signature areas: advancing sustainable earth ecosystems, improving human health and wellness, and promoting economic growth and social progress.
To find out how to get involved, contact Meredith Morrice, OREI Strategic Engagement Manager.