Report Examines Economic Value of Outdoor Recreation Amenities

Posted: November 6th, 2012
Report Examines Economic Value of Outdoor Recreation Amenities

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development recently published a report on the value of Iowa's outdoor recreation amenities. The report is available for free download from the Community and Economic Development website.

"Economic Value of Outdoor Recreation Activities in Iowa" is an update of a 2007 study and provides a comprehensive profile of Iowa's outdoor recreational resources, levels of participation and the economic impact associated with those outdoor activities. The 2012 report also incorporates data regarding how the availability of outdoor recreation can facilitate more physical activity among Iowans, which in turn can contribute to lower health care costs.

In examining the magnitude and growth of outdoor recreation activities in Iowa, this report underscores several major benefits to the state including increased visitation, increased revenue, improved water quality, improved quality of life for residents and lower health care costs.

The cost of physical inactivity can be substantial.  An East Carolina University study suggest that in Iowa, physical inactivity is costing the state about $4.6 billion annually in lost worker productivity, $866.3 million in higher health care costs and $10.6 million in higher workers compensation costs.  Research has shown that expanding and improving parks, with encourage increased outdoor recreational park-based activity can reduce these health care costs.  

The study was commissioned by the Nature Conservancy with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The report was authored by Daniel Otto, a professor and extension economist; Kristin Tylka, an undergraduate research assistant in the Department of Economics; and Susan Erickson, a program coordinator at Iowa State University.

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