Pictured: The Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office visits Powderhorn Mountain Resort

Whether it’s mountain biking, camping, hiking, or even wakeboarding, outdoor recreation is alive and well in the Grand Junction area. It’s easy to find ways to get outside, from the Palisade Plunge to the Imondi Wake Zone in Fruita and everywhere in between. Beyond providing visitors and residents with unique ways to enjoy Western Colorado, the outdoor recreation industry stimulates our economy and facilitates employment opportunities throughout our community.

This month, the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC) visited the Grand Junction area as part of a state-wide listening tour. They had the opportunity to visit several of our local businesses within the industry including Alluvia Packraft, Powderhorn Mountain Resort, QuickrStuff, DT Swiss, Bonsai Design, The Gear Junction, and Trail Life Brewing. OREC provides a central point of contact, advocacy, and resources at the state level for the diverse constituents, businesses, and communities that rely on the continued health of the outdoor recreation economy. We appreciate their team for taking the time to visit the Grand Junction area and get a taste firsthand of what our community has to offer.

In speaking with local businesses, it’s clear to see that outdoor recreation has a strong impact on our community. Until recently, it has been difficult to quantify this impact. However, this month, Dr. Nathan Perry, associate professor at Colorado Mesa University released his study on the economic impact of outdoor recreation in Mesa County. His report found the total direct economic impact of outdoor recreation, including outdoor recreation businesses and outdoor recreation tourism is $321,625,137, or 4.8% of GDP, compared to the state average for GDP of 3.1%

When including indirect (supply chain) and induced spending effects, the GDP impact rises to $484,474,065, or 7.2% of GDP. The report also determined direct job impact is 7,620, or 8.4% of total jobs. When including indirect and induced effects that number rises to 9,897, or 11% of jobs including both full and part-time employment. To read more about the study, check out the article published in The Daily Sentinel on September 15, 2022.


This report was officially released in conjunction with the visit of OREC and presented during The Wright’s On the Road: Campfire Conversations event at Basecamp Beer Works. This event concluded an exciting evening of presentations and provided the opportunity for Grand Valley locals to share their experiences regarding how our landscapes impact our industries, shape our history, and connect us to our neighbors. This event allowed community members from all over the state to visit over a beer and hear each other’s stories. These efforts were coordinated and help made possible by the Grand Valley’s Outdoor Recreation Coalition. Speakers included: Janie VanWinkle with VanWinkle Ranch, Scott Winans with Mountain Racing Products and Rapid Creek Cycles, Mariana Cevallos with Alluvia Packraft, Josh Niernberg with Bin707 and Taco Party, Jenn Moore with EUREKA McConnel Science Museum, and Libby Collins with Colorado West Land Trust.

To conclude an exciting month for Grand Valley’s outdoor recreation industry, GJEP’s Deputy Director, Steve Jozefczyk, had the opportunity to present during the Public Lands Foundation’s annual meeting, hosted in Grand Junction. The Public Lands Foundation works closely with the Bureau of Land Management and advocates for keeping public lands in public hands. During his presentation, Steve referenced several studies conducted by Colorado Mesa University’s Dr. Nathan Perry and highlighted the significance of recreational trails from the standpoint of the local economy. The presentation discussed the economic impact of outdoor recreation on Mesa County through direct, indirect, and induced labor as well as tourism impact.

It’s safe to say that the Outdoor Recreation Industry continues to be an important aspect of Mesa County’s economy. As we set our sights on the primary jobs created by this industry, we are excited to see these opportunities continue to grow and thrive. For more information on key industries within the Grand Junction area please visit www.gjep.org/move-here/key-industies.