Outdoor Rec

Office of Outdoor Recreation

Wisconsin’s natural assets are remarkable. With over 15,000 lakes, 43,000 miles of river shoreline, and 6 million acres of public land, it is no wonder outdoor recreation is a top reason people visit Wisconsin. In addition to tourism economic impacts for our local communities, outdoor recreation is a significant industry driving Wisconsin’s economy, supporting jobs in manufacturing, retail and various other sectors. Connecting the dots among outdoor recreation, economic development, and health and wellness is the work of the Office of Outdoor Recreation.

NEW! Outdoor recreation is a top driver of Wisconsin’s economy generating $7.8 billion to Wisconsin’s gross domestic product and supporting 93,000 jobs. Read the full economic report outlining the significant contributions of outdoor recreation to Wisconsin produced by Headwaters Economics, a leading independent, bipartisan and nonprofit research firm.

View the report.

About the Office of Outdoor Recreation

Our mission is to support and uplift the state’s outdoor recreation industry for the economic health and overall well-being of the state and its residents.

The Office partners with a variety of stakeholders to create engagement and alignment around four key tenets:

Invite residents, visitors, businesses and workforce talent to live, work and play in Wisconsin – to experience the state’s natural places and vast outdoor recreation offerings – to stimulate economic development.

Connect people to Wisconsin’s natural places and outdoor recreation opportunities through access and education with a focus on inclusion.

Thrive when active lifestyles and outdoor recreation are promoted to create healthy individuals and communities.

Sustain Wisconsin’s invaluable natural assets by encouraging outdoor recreation, the connection to place and the preservation of healthy lands and waters.

To learn more about the Office and its progress, click here to join our email newsletter Wisconsin Outside.


Outdoors COVID-19 Toolkit

Education is paramount in inviting the public back to the great outdoors. In partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Office of Outdoor Recreation has created approved signage and social media graphics for use by land managers, communities, and businesses to welcome people to recreate outside while following new health recommendations.

Access the Toolkit


Research

The Outdoor Industry Association researches national trends from participation to consumer spending to sustainability practices of companies.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis examines the national economy down to state-level data by activity, furthering the understanding of the outdoor recreation industry’s economic impacts.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources creates a Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan every five years to evaluate outdoor recreation supply, demand, trends, and issues.

As the numbers regarding outdoor recreation participation, planning, and economic impact evolve, the Wisconsin Office of Outdoor Recreation continually monitors this information. If you have a specific need for research, we are happy to help. Please contact us.