Those crowded Colorado trails and recreation spots bring in $28 billion, new report finds

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Views of the Cherry Creek trail in downtown Denver. denver; denverite; colorado; cherry creek; trail; bridge; water; recreation; downtown; kevinjbeaty

Views of the Cherry Creek trail in downtown Denver. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Colorado climbs near the top of the list for how much hikers, cyclists and other outdoor recreators are spending in the state, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.

The Boulder-based trade association shared new data this week that shows outdoor recreators in Colorado spend $28 billion annually on gear, trips and other related items and services. Overall, about seven out of 10 residents participate in outdoor recreation in the state each year, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.

Colorado ties with North Carolina for the state with the sixth-highest consumer spending in the outdoor recreation category, behind more populous states like California, Texas and New York.

California by far and away has the largest outdoor recreation economy, boasting $92 billion in annual consumer spending — a tenth of what's spent within the industry nationwide.

Nationwide, the outdoor recreation economy generates $887 billion in consumer spending annually and directly supports 7.6 million jobs, according to the Outdoor Recreation Economy Report released earlier this year. The industry supports 229,000 jobs in Colorado, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.

The association is a title sponsor of the mega Outdoor Retailer trade show that's leaving Utah for Denver in 2018. The move could mean a big hit for Utah's outdoor recreation economy, which rakes in less than half of Colorado's consumer spending at $12.3 billion.

The numbers shared this week come from a survey conducted by Florida-based Southwick Associates. Respondents for the survey were solicited through Connecticut-headquartered Survey Sampling International. A certain number of answers came from each state to ensure statistical reliability for state-level estimates of participation and spending.

Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at [email protected] or

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