(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBC), and U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), Ranking Member, chaired a committee hearing today on the importance of the outdoor recreation economy, the key role of small businesses in this industry and the challenges they face. The Senators brought in witnesses that spoke on the challenges facing one of the fastest growing sectors in the American economy. You can watch Chair Shaheen’s opening remarks here.

“As a Granite Stater, I am proud to be a longtime advocate of the outdoor recreation economy and the small businesses that rely on it. The outdoor recreation industry is built by entrepreneurs helping local towns and rural America thrive. They are the backcountry guides, fishing charter boats and the mom and pop stores near the outdoor destinations we all love,” said Chair Shaheen. “Thank you to our witnesses for sharing their perspectives. I am eager to work with my colleagues across the aisle to support outdoor recreation opportunities and ensure our landscapes are preserved for generations of Granite Staters and Americans to enjoy.”

Full hearing remarks and testimony can be viewed here.

Witnesses for today’s hearing included:

As a long-time member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and former small business owner, Chair Shaheen is a fierce advocate for New Hampshire’s—and America’s—small business community. Chair Shaheen’s bipartisan legislation, the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2015, which she introduced with former Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2016. The law requires the federal government to measure the impact of outdoor recreation on the economy to help inform policy makers and business leaders about the number of jobs created and consumer spending driven by outdoor recreation industries.

Thanks to the data gathered by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, it is known that inflation-adjusted Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the outdoor recreation economy increased 18.9 percent in 2021, compared with a 5.9 percent increase for the overall U.S. economy, and it represents approximately 1.9 percent of the GDP. The total economic contribution of the outdoor recreation sector in 2021 was an estimated $862 billion.