— Adding billions of dollars to USA’s economy —

West Virginia’s Hatfield-McCoy trail system was conceived and developed to bring OHV tourism dollars to the state, and the developers of the Paiute trail system throughout central Utah have brought many millions of OHV tourism dollars to the Beehive State. Many other states are riding the OHV tourism wave after seeing the economic benefits the Hatfield-McCoy trails have generated for West Virginia. An economic-impact study released in July 2015 revealed that the Hatfield-McCoy trails’ daily operations generated $1.7 million in spending and accounted for an additional $1.6 million in economic activity for a total operational impact of $3.3 million. Out-of-state visitors to Hatfield-McCoy generated another $19 million in economic activity, bringing the estimated economic impact to more than $22 million.

In fact, a September 2018 study from the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) released by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that the outdoor-recreation economy accounted for $412 billion, roughly 2.2 percent of current-dollar GDP in 2016. The outdoor-recreation economy grew by 1.7 percent in 2016, faster than the 1.6-percent GDP growth of the overall U.S. economy.


During the 2014–2015 season, motorized recreation enthusiasts spent $1.6 billion on OHV trips, with more than 92 percent of these expenditures occurring during the summer recreational season, meaning snowmobiles contributed less than 8 percent. In addition to spending for OHV trips, households spent $724 million on maintenance, repairs, accessories, vehicle storage and other OHV-related items, along with $163 million on OHV purchases. In total, motorized recreation was responsible for $2.3 billion in direct expenditures for motorized recreation in Colorado.

Idaho is another favorite destination for OHV enthusiasts. Studies show Idaho’s OHV enthusiasts took close to one million trips in 2012 and spent about $434 million on trips and OHVs, parts and accessories. The University of Idaho conducted a study of OHV owners in the fall of 2012, and each OHV household took 12 OHV trips a year with a party size of four going out for three days per trip. More than half of the estimated one million OHV trips were taken outside of residents’ counties.


Montana OHV enthusiasts spend about $208 million per year on OHV activities, with nearly all of their trip costs going for an estimated 6.6 million dollars of gasoline. With a tax base of 27 cents per gallon, Montana OHV enthusiasts generate more than $1.8 million in revenue for the state highway trust fund, which also administers trail funding. In fact, outdoor-recreation spending in western states totaled $255.6 billion—nearly 40 percent of the national total—in a June 2012 study, with motor vehicle and parts sales generating $340 billion. Gasoline and other fuel sales were $354 billion, and OHV-related jobs in western states employed 2.3 million people with $110.3 billion in salaries, wages and business income. In addition, motorized recreation generated $15.41 billion in federal and $15.38 billion in state and local taxes.

So, your OHV’s engine is generating a lot more than rear-wheel horsepower; it’s an economic powerplant as well. And, OHVs contribute gas-tax dollars nationally to the Symms Recreational Trails Act, which issues trail-funding grants to states.


Even smaller states and those with less public land are getting in on the OHV gravy train. Iowa OHV owners spent $72.8 million in 2018 on in-state trips and related personal expenses. Purchases, repair and maintenance generated around 1,018 jobs, paying an average of $42,850 annually. Iowa OHV enthusiasts also spent $28.9 million outside the state on OHV recreation.

OHV recreation is a proven economic stimulus to the tourism market, so struggling areas should embrace OHV tourism. MO-Moto OHV Incorporated conducted a study in 2018, reporting that 40 percent of Missouri tourists visited natural-resource sites, with the average OHV enthusiast spending a minimum of $100 on a single-day trip. Some 3.2 million of the Midwest’s 15.4 million residents participate in OHV recreation. Connecting existing trails through rural Missouri could have the same economic effect as Hatfield-McCoy, reports MO-Moto, adding that OHV tourism can diversify the economy for southeastern Missouri and create a culture of entrepreneurship based on trail-oriented businesses like UTV rentals, tour guides, outfitters, cabins, hotels, restaurants and more.

The National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) reports that the economic impact of OHV recreation is $68,000,000,000. And, UTVs account for 44 percent of OHV sales in the South, 27 percent in the Midwest, 21 percent out West and 8 percent in the Northeast. State by state, Texas is number one in UTV sales, with California and Ohio filling out the UTV-sales podium.



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