The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

April 1, 2013

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Walleye migration under way

(Continued)

Free camping

Pull out the camping gear, grab the makings for s’mores and leave the wallet at home for a night of free camping with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The night of free camping will be available at 54 campgrounds within Ohio State Parks on Thursday, April 18.

“I want to encourage Ohioans to start their weekend early by camping at one of our Ohio State Parks campgrounds for free,” ODNR Director James Zehringer said. “This is an excellent opportunity for families to explore new parts of Ohio and find out what is available within our state parks system.”

For this promotion, campers can make a free reservation for a stay that includes the Free Camping Day. To make the reservation, people must call the Ohio State Parks Reservation Call Center at (866) 644-6727. Customers can also reserve online but will pay the standard reservation fee. Walkins are also welcome on April 18, but space is limited.

For more information about Ohio State Parks campground availability, reservations and amenities, go to: http://bit.ly/freecamping.

This promotion will not be available at Jackson Lake State Park or Strouds Run State Park, as these are concession-operated campgrounds.

Money matters

Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) has released figures quantifying the economic impact of outdoor recreation in all 50 states, with a separate report for each state that tallies direct spending, jobs, salaries and tax revenue. This data demonstrates that outdoor recreation is an important driver of state economies, supporting jobs, businesses and communities.

In Ohio, Americans spend $17.4 billion on outdoor recreation, supporting 196,100 Ohio jobs, generating $5.1 billion in wages, and producing $1.3 billion in state and local tax revenue. Ohio offers spectacular outdoor recreation opportunities at treasured destinations, including Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Salt Fork State Park and many others, providing the types of outdoor experiences that produce these economic benefits.

The state-by-state figures expand upon a national report OIA published in June 2012, which found that nationally Americans spend $646 billion each year on outdoor recreation, directly supporting 6.1 million jobs and generating nearly $80 billion in tax revenue.

“Outdoor recreation is a growing American industry that produces significant economic benefits,” Will Manzer, chair of the OIA Board of Directors and former CEO of Eastern Mountain Sports, said. “For example, Americans spend almost twice as much on outdoor recreation as they spend on pharmaceuticals each year. And outdoor recreation supports more than twice as many jobs as the oil and gas industry.”

Outdoor recreation creates diverse jobs in product development, manufacturing, marketing, logistics, sales, retail, public land management, guiding services and more. It also supports service sector and other jobs when people spend money on trips and travel-related expenses associated with outdoor pursuits.

With nearly 140 million Americans participating in outdoor activities each year, outdoor recreation is a larger and more critical sector of the American economy than most people realize. The outdoor industry can continue to generate jobs and be an economic driver in the United States if parks, waters and trails are managed as a system designed to sustain these economic dividends for America.

“Outdoor recreation is good for the American economy and our future,” Frank Hugelmeyer, president and CEO of OIA, said. “When we invest in the nation’s network of public lands and waters, we are protecting and enhancing outdoor experiences for the benefit of the thousands of businesses, communities and families whose livelihoods depends on the outdoor recreation economy.”

The new data is an expansion to OIA’s 2006 study and tracks direct jobs as well as direct consumer spending on gear, vehicles, trips and travel in 10 activity categories. OIA commissioned Southwick Associates, a research firm that specializes in shooting sports, hunting, angling, natural resource and environmental economics, to perform the research. Motorcycle Industry Council and National Marine Manufacturers Association contributed funding and data to support this study.

The national report as well as a one page fact sheet for each U.S. state is available on the OIA website at www.outdoorindustry.org/recreationeconomy.

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