The power of outdoor recreation and other news

Posted on: May 18, 2017 | Bob Frye | Comments

Think it’s just camping? Think again. Outdoor recreation is a huge economic engine.
Bob Frye/Everybody Advemtures

Outdoors recreation equates to big money.

A study done for the Outdoor Industry Association and recently released confirmed that.

According to The Outdoor Recreation Economy Report (available here), recreation outside generates $887 billion in consumer spending annually and supports 7.6 million American jobs. That’s more Americans than are employed in food and beverage service, construction or computer technology.

Billed as the largest and most comprehensive of its kind, the report said all that activity also generates $65.3 billion in federal tax revenue and $59.2 billion in state and local tax revenue each year.

“From the smallest rural towns to the most densely populated cities, outdoor recreation makes America stronger,” said Amy Roberts, OIA executive director. “This report makes clear that the outdoor recreation economy is not only thriving, but a powerful economic force that embodies the American spirit.”

It also makes the case for investing in public lands and waters, she said.

Some other highlights of the report are:

  • Every year, American consumers spend more on outdoor recreation ($887 billion) than they do on education ($278 billion), gasoline and fuels ($304 billion), household utilities ($313 billion), motor vehicles and parts ($465 billion) or pharmaceuticals ($466 billion).
  • Spending on outdoor recreation far outpaces other popular activities. Americans spend $14 billion on water sports gear, for example, versus 411 billion on going to the movies.
  • Outdoor recreation provides significant health benefits and lower public health care costs through physical activity and by reducing stress and obesity rates.
  • National parks, national wildlife refuges, national monuments and other public lands and waters account for $45 billion in economic output and about 396,000 jobs nationwide.

New records

Maryland has a new state record musky.

Tessa Cosens with her Maryland state record musky.
Photo Maryland DNR

According to the state’s Department of Natural Resources, 26-year-old Tessa Cosens was fishing the upper Potomac River in Washington County when she landed a musky that went 32.5 pounds. It was 49 inches long and 24 inches around.

The previous record was a 31.75-pound fish caught in 2011.

Cosens was using a 7-foot musky rod rigged with a double spinner when she caught the fish.

In New York, meanwhile, Eric Scordo was fishing with a nightcrawler when he caught a 35-pound, 3-ouonce channel catfish. That set a new state record, topping the previous fish by nearly 2.5 pounds.

He caught the big catfish from Brant Lake.

Meat-eating deer

There’s a 26-acre installation in San Marcos, Texas, known as the Forensic Anthropology Research Facility.

There, forensic scientists sometimes leave human carcasses outside to rot, to monitor the impact of weather, scavengers and other factors. The idea is to learn things that might help solve crimes.

According to a new story in Popular Science, researchers put a body out in 2014 and left it there for months to study how animals scavenge bodies. Motion cameras were set out.

Early in 2015 they captured the first-ever documented case of a white-tailed deer eating human remains.

The story – see it with photos here — reports that on two occasions, deer were caught on film with human ribs in their mouths.

Researchers aren’t sure if there were two deer visiting the body or one multiple times.

The story noted that “scientists think deer and other herbivores may occasionally seek out flesh to get minerals — such as phosphorus, salt, and calcium — that may be missing from their regular diets, especially in wintertime.”

Protecting deer

Pennsylvania is dealing with chronic wasting disease. Might something like this turn up here?

In Wisconsin, two state lawmakers recently introduced a bill known as the “Save Our Deer Act.”

It aims to keep the disease from further spreading into the wild by more closely regulating deer farms. Under the bill, they would be required to: have electronic monitoring systems that indicate when gates are open; fence non-white-tail deer farms; conduct fence inspections every two years; and install double fencing or electric fencing if they’ve had confirmed cases of CWD previously.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, there are 387 deer farms in Wisconsin. Since 2001, 15 farms have tested positive for CWD.

“We owe it to the people of Wisconsin, not just hunters, to do everything we can to slow the spread of CWD,” said Rep. Nick Milroy, one of the bill’s sponsors.

“Hunting is a time-honored tradition and a major industry in Wisconsin, without a healthy deer herd our hunting heritage and economy are in jeopardy. While there is much to learn about CWD, we know we can slow its spread. Creating additional safeguards at deer farms will give us an extra layer of protection.”

Pennsylvania has about 1,000 captive deer farms. That’s second only to Texas.

Lost to fire

R.L. Winston Rod Co. plans to rebuild after a fire caused $1 million in damage.

The R.L. Winston Rod Co. known to so many fly anglers lost an estimated $1 million in bamboo rods because of a recent fire.

But it’s not just the money. A news release put out by R.L. Winston lamented the lost history and tradition caused by the fire.

“More than the money, the fire feels like the passing of a cherished family member. Countless hours through many hands have shaped the fine bamboo rods that have passed through the now charred doors,” the release reads.

R.L. Winston has been in business for almost 90 years. It plans to rebuild and be back in operation by year’s end. Its boron/graphite facility and Bauer fly reel operations were not impacted by the blaze and remain functional already.

Bob Frye is the editor. Reach him at 412-838-5148 or See other stories, blogs, videos and more at

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