National Forest Recreation Contributes Millions to Washington Communities

Portland, Ore. - Recreation visitors to national forest lands provide significant economic contributions to local communities in Washington, according to a recent report by the USDA Forest Service.   

National Forests in Washington receive over 6.3 million visits each year. Visitors spend approximately $290 million annually in communities near national forests. This spending supports over 2,100 year-long jobs in Washington, many in rural communities, and approximately $81 million in labor income for businesses and employees.

“National forests play an important role in the working economies of communities across the Pacific Northwest,” said Jim Peña, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester. “The numbers in this economic report demonstrate how important these public lands are to both forest visitors and local communities. The Forest Service is proud to work with partners, permittees, and local officials to connect visitors to their public lands and support the growing outdoor recreation economy.”

In the Pacific Northwest, hiking/walking (25% of visits), downhill skiing/snowboarding (16% of visits) and viewing natural features (14% of visits) are the most common recreation activities. About half of visits come from those who live within 60 miles of the forest boundary. Visitors from outside the local area spend between three and five nights away from home engaging in recreation activities and spending money in the area where they are staying.

The report, “Spending Patterns of Outdoor Recreation Visitors to National Forests,” published by the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station, compiles research based on survey data collected as part of the Forest Service’s National Visitor Use Monitoring program. This information is used to estimate the average spending per trip, the share of recreation visits, average people per party, various types of recreation activities, and other visit characteristics to assist in economic analysis of outdoor recreation use.

Read the report here.

Plan your next national forest recreation visit.

The USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region consists of 16 National Forests, 59 District Offices, a National Scenic Area, and a National Grassland comprising 24.7 million acres in Oregon and Washington. National forests benefit communities across the Pacific Northwest in countless ways, from economic benefits, recreation opportunities, clean drinking water, habitat for fish and wildlife, and so much more. The Pacific Northwest Research Station is a leader in the scientific study of natural resources. The Station has 11 locations in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington and about 300 employees. We generate and communicate impartial knowledge to help people understand and make informed choices about natural resource management and sustainability.

Contact: Stephen Baker, (503) 808-2690