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Outdoor Recreation Economy

Introduction and Background Context of Bend City, Oregon

Bend is a city found in Deschutes County, Oregon deduced from the word “Farewell Bend”. Later, it was decided that the term Farewell Bend was too long and shortened to Bend. It was incorporated as a city in 1905 (Hanson, 2018). The city has the largest population in Central Oregon. It’s positioned on the eastern boundary of the Cascade Range along the river Deschutes. The city is mostly known for sunshine and great outdoor recreation, granting locals an easier way of life. It is one of the three cities in the continent of the United States of America to have an extinct volcano that serves as a tourist attraction. Outdoor recreation is a significant part of Oregon’s identity, and it is the people’s way of life.

Regarding the economic context, Bend began as a logging town. Still, it is now described as a getaway for outdoor sports, which include rock climbing, foothill biking, camping, hiking, skiing, golf, water rafting, fishing, and many others. It was after the 1980s that tourism became the main industry for Bend and the neighboring areas. It is hard to find a better city for outdoor enthusiasts than Bend, Oregon. It is a beautiful city with expansive mountain views, and Scenic rivers run through the center of the town with people surfing on it, and it’s just beautiful. It is considered to be a great place to raise a family. The city also has gorgeous weather since it is a four-season town with an average of 162 days of sunshine per year.

Analysis of the Outdoor Recreation Economy (ORE)

ORE deals with the supply of and demand for natural resources for recreational purposes. Outdoor recreational activities include hiking, fishing, skiing, and many other activities. Studies have shown that as of 2019, the city had used 15.6 billion in expenses. In addition, revealed that the program had created 224,000 permanent and temporary job opportunities in the state. Many outdoor recreation economy sectors in Bend, Oregon include tourism and outdoor recreation activities such as hiking, fishing, and mountain biking. These outdoor recreation economy sectors have become dominant in Bend, Oregon, since they are contributing greatly towards the state’s economy, and it means a lot to the people of Oregon.

As of 2021, reports stated that it accounted for 1.8 percent of the United States Gross Domestic Product, with 689 billion dollars in gross output and 4.3 million jobs (DiNatale et al., 2021). The tourism sector through the program’s recreational activities has dominated over other local economic drivers as studies have shown the program is crucial to the state’s economic development and growth. The current size of ORE is significant to the people of Bend, Oregon. This means more growth and improved living standards for the people due to economic growth. Besides, it has provided jobs opportunities for residents and the nation, attributing to improved living conditions. Also, it has provided people with recreational activities that serve as getaways, and this has helped to strengthen family bonds and help people enjoy their lives.

President Theodore Roosevelt foresaw the development of the outdoor recreation economy a hundred years ago (Holleman, 2018). He stated that protecting the nation’s natural wonders was important. He was also more concerned about the value these natural wonders would play for people in terms of recreation. The outdoor recreation economy has developed greatly over time. In 2006, the first economic study on outdoor recreation was conducted in the United States (Bolger & Doyon, 2019). A large number of unemployed people in the United States during the great recession contributed to massive spending cuts. However, most Americans prioritized outdoor recreation, which was the beginning of the growth of the outdoor recreation economy. People have embraced outdoor recreation more than before, contributing to immense growth in the outdoor recreation economy.

The state’s scenic beauty is a paramount drive ensuring tourists and residents can enjoy the activities at their disposal. It is home to scenic wonders and abundant natural resources. Bend city is a little mountain town with beautiful scenery, such as its many rivers, mountains, lakes, and clear high desert climate, attracting people to visit the city and engage in outdoor recreation activities. Additionally, the city’s people love outdoor activities, which contributed to the development of Outdoor recreation as they made it part of their lifestyle, which greatly impacted the economy. The development of ORE was purely organic since people were having fun and enjoying themselves until a potential was spotted. The development since there has been a combination of planned and organic development. This can be explained through the construction of luxurious resorts to host tourists and the establishment of tourist guide companies developed to have the best experience during outdoor recreation.

There is a variety of individuals who have contributed to the growth and development of the outdoor recreation economy. For instance, Congress has played a major role in shaping outdoor recreation in the country through legislation and oversight, which has contributed to ORE’s vast development (Holleman, 2018). Consequently, congress has emphasized on developing policies and programs to help constructively manage the outdoor recreation economy. The Outdoor industry association also contributed a great deal to the growth and development of ORE when the industry held its first economic study on outdoor recreation in the United States in 2006 (Holleman, 2018). Efforts made by organizations and groups of people have contributed to the vast growth and development of the outdoor recreation economy.


According to the analysis its prevalent that outdoor recreation has a huge role in the American economy. The city has abundant natural resources, which has contributed to it being a city with many outdoor recreational activities and why people prefer to visit or live there. These outdoor recreation events have consequently impacted the economy of the city and the nation’s economy as people have embraced outdoor recreation. Some of the outdoor activities present in the city include; skiing, hiking, fishing, and many other activities. Hence, natural resources availability in the city have been impactful to achieving the economic benefits available in the city as well as we cannot forget the congress and other stakeholders support. Natural resource availability has been impactful in promoting outdoor recreation in the city, and the joint efforts from congress and organizations have also helped. The ORE has provided many citizens of the United States with employment which has positively changed their lives. The development of the outdoor recreation economy was organic at first and then advanced to plans being incorporated where some organizations were involved.


Bolger, K., & Doyon, A. (2019). Circular cities: exploring local government strategies to facilitate a circular economy. European planning studies, 27(11), 2184-2205.

DiNatale, S., Lewis, R., & Parker, R. (2021). Short-term rentals in small cities in Oregon: Impacts and regulations. Land use policy, 79, 407-423.

Hanson, T. (2018). Sunriver. Arcadia Publishing.



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