“Quiet Recreation” Makes a Big Impact on California Economy

The future of areas like Lake Shasta is under review for the new BLM Resource Management Plans in the Redding and Arcata regions. Photo Credit: Pixabay

Suzanne Potter
California News Service

SHASTA LAKE, Calif. – Tourists are pouring into far northern California in search of the perfect river, lake, stream or trail – making 1.3 million visits for so-called “quiet recreation” in 2015 alone, according to new research.

Quiet recreation is the term for activities that don’t involve significant use of motorized equipment, like hiking, biking, camping, fishing and kayaking.

Report co-author Kristin Lee, a research analyst for the consulting firm, ECONorthwest, says visitors spent $41 million on quiet recreation in northern California communities in 2015, 80 percent of all outdoor recreation there.

“That spending translates into $50.2 million in economic output,” she says. “And then, it helps support 570 jobs and those jobs paid almost $27 million in compensation.”

The Pew Charitable Trust commissioned the study to provide hard data to the Bureau of Land Management as it revises the Resource Management Plans for its Redding and Arcata field offices. The area stretches to the Oregon border and includes places like Mount Shasta and Trinity Lake.

A 2016 study showed statewide, quiet recreation generated almost five-million visits to BLM land in California, generating $329 million in spending.

Jim Mullins, executive director of the Mount Shasta Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, says non-motorized recreation is the backbone of the local economy.

“We base our economy off of our transit occupancy tax rates from the hotels,” he says. “In the last three years, it’s really been spiking. And what we’re seeing is a lot more of these tourists are coming for the daytime adventures because we have lakes, streams, hiking, camping, mountain biking and road biking. We have all those things to offer in the far northern part of California.”

A separate study from 2014 found more than 60 million visits to BLM lands nationally, nearly two-thirds for quiet recreation – supporting nearly 25,000 jobs and generating $2.8 billion for the U.S. economy.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

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