Northwest Michigan's outdoor recreation economy generated $1.15B in '22, new study shows

What’s happening: Outdoor recreation is our business and business is good. That’s according to the findings from the recently released Outdoor Recreation Economic Impact Study for Northwest Michigan, which details how northwest Michigan’s outdoor economy contributed $1.15 billion to the Gross Regional Product in 2022.

Key takeaways: For the 10 counties that make up the northwest Lower Michigan region, the outdoor economy employed 4,712 workers in 2022 and contributed $1.15 billion to the Gross Regional Product. The study shows the area has “double the concentration of agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting employment than national averages for regions of similar size,” per Networks Northwest, and spends on boats, trailers, campers, and recreational vehicles at a rate 32 percent above the national average.

Why it’s important: “The Outdoor Recreation Economic Impact Study aims to gain insight into the opportunities available in the recreational sector in our region,” says Stacie Bytwork, President, Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce and Networks Northwest board member. “This study assists with developing a plan to attract growth and make us stand out as a place of choice. With our numerous unique recreational assets in the region, we are grateful to be a part of this process and excited to work collaboratively towards implementing strategies that will benefit both our region and individual communities.”

Who’s behind it: The Outdoor Recreation Economic Impact Study for Northwest Michigan was developed by Networks Northwest in partnership with the Alliance for Economic Success, the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce, the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance, and Traverse Connect.

Recommendations: The study also recommends that further economic opportunities exist for business investment and development in the fields of camping and camping equipment; bicycles; sports, recreation, and exercise equipment; and rental/repair of sports, recreation, and exercise equipment. 

Visit Networks Northwest online to view a complete copy of Outdoor Recreation Economic Impact Study for Northwest Michigan.

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