Vermont’s outdoor economy breaks out

Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, wrote in a recent editorial in the LA Times: “America’s public lands perform best when protected for recreation. In fact, the business of outdoor recreation, which relies heavily on public lands, supports more jobs (6.1 million) than oil, natural gas and mining combined. Americans spend more on outdoor recreation annually ($646 billion) than on electronics, pharmaceuticals or automobiles. Public lands power a sustainable, homegrown economy. From 2008 to 2011, during the height of the recession, the outdoor industry grew 5% every year.” Vermont’s outdoor economy has been experiencing a similar growth spurt. From an explosion in parks use to a proliferation of trail networks, Vermont’s outdoor economy is now touching every corner of the state. We talk with four leaders in the sector about the outdoor industry, land conservation, and the next big thing in recreation.

Amy Kelsey, Drew Simmons, Elise Annes, Jessica Savage, Executive Director, Catamount Trail Association; President, Pale Morning Media; Vice President for Community Relations, The Vermont Land Trust; Recreation Program Manager, Vermont Dept. of Forest, Parks and Recreation, respectively