Extension: Outdoor Recreation

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation in Tennessee generated $11.9 Billion in total outdoor recreation value added with 3,604,707 participating in some form of outdoor recreation in 2022. In 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis found that outdoor recreation accounted for $1.1 trillion in gross economic output, 2.2% of gross domestic product (GDP), surpassing industries such as mining, utilities, farming and ranching, and chemical products manufacturing.

Outdoor recreation, and the places it occurs, is important to the people of Tennessee. UT Extension aims to help private and public land managers provide sustainable and high quality outdoor recreation experiences. Additionally, we will provide resources and information about how to benefit from the growing outdoor recreation economy in Tennessee. This page will be updated often with news, training opportunities, and research to assist with enhancing outdoor recreation for all Tennesseans.

Outdoor Recreation Contact

Ryan Sharp, Associate Professor


Information on the latest outdoor recreation research – Outdoor Recreation and Conservation Lab (O.R.C.)

Information about the power of the Outdoor Recreation Economy – Outdoor Industry Association

Tennessee Center for the Outdoor Recreation Economy (coming soon!)


In the News

Gov. Lee’s 2024 State of the State Address includes significant investment in outdoor recreation, including:

$63 million to create four new Tennessee State Parks, with the goal of funding a total of eight new state parks by the time Gov. Lee leaves office, tying a Tennessee record for the most state parks created by one administration

$20 million to expand blueway trail access, which will drive tourism and economic activity across our rural communities 

$20 million to improve water quality at rivers, lakes and streams across the state, making them safe for future generations to enjoy and the Bill Dance Signature Lakes Fishing Trail