AspenWhen our dear leaders in Washington are considering new laws and regulations, it turns out that they are not looking at the impact it will have on the outdoor recreation industry because no one has ever bothered to ask. Until now.

A new bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner would direct the Bureau of Economic Analysis to find that data and make it publicly available, and require the feds to measure the impact recreation has on the nation’s economy.

Some analysts have pegged the dollar amount generated at nearly $650 billion and jobs supported at more than six million. That’s not just dimes nickels, but real money, even by Washington’s standards.

“Outdoor recreation in Colorado is a pillar of our local communities, our Western heritage, and attracts people from all over the world to our state,” said Gardner.

“Colorado’s great outdoors has contributed significantly to state and local economies across the country, and the Outdoor REC Act recognizes that. This bill would allow lawmakers to make informed policy decisions to further enhance the industry by understanding the impact recreation has on our economy …”

We can think of several instances in which these numbers would have been helpful to beat back the constant wave of regulatory efforts from Washington on Colorado.

Like when the Forest Service tried to steal borrow water from ski resorts, and every time the feds try and kick us off public lands because of an endangered species. We’re looking at you, grouse.

So long as the information is used to inform lawmakers and regulators to drive policy, and not as a weapon to pit one private industry against another, we think this bill is a good idea and encourage the rest of the Colorado delegation to support it.