Outdoor Recreation Council of B.C. new study takes a look at Squamish
The District of Squamish has identified Outdoor Recreation as a key emerging sector according to its Emerging Sector Roadmap and Action Plan. Squamish's landscape, passionate workforce, and testing ground draw companies focusing on recreation technology and performance apparel, creative industries and adventure-based media, and film. While this emerging sector brings opportunities, it also poses challenges.
"The Impacts of Outdoor Recreation in B.C," authored by Ximena Diaz Lopez of the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC (ORCBC), examines outdoor recreation effects in rural areas, particularly Burns Lake, Fernie, Revelstoke, Squamish, and Tofino. This research highlights challenges and opportunities within B.C.'s outdoor recreation scene. Insights from Kate Mulligan, Economic Development Officer at the District of Squamish; Ian Lowe, Executive Director of SORCA; and Wendy Koh, Regional Manager for the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation, discuss Squamish's involvement in this sector.
The study explores the impacts of outdoor recreation in rural B.C. communities, focusing on five areas. Notably, the research uncovers how outdoor recreation benefits the community beyond economic gains. Squamish's example reveals the economic, social, and cultural benefits of outdoor opportunities.
Lowe notes Squamish's growth in the mountain biking industry, emphasizing the increased number of companies involved. Mulligan highlights the thriving outdoor recreation sector, citing the significant local businesses and employees it supports.
Beyond economics, the study shows outdoor recreation's role in boosting tourism and related industries. Ancillary businesses, from breweries to service providers, thrive due to this sector's presence, enriching the local economy.
The study also highlights outdoor recreation's influence on community values and entrepreneurial endeavors. Interviewees described a value alignment between the residents and the businesses. Similarly, interviewees described how residents in the community may be inclined to entrepreneurial pursuits.
Koh emphasizes how Squamish's environment benefits outdoor recreation businesses. The natural setting serves as a testing ground for innovative companies, enhancing their product quality and appeal.
However, the study acknowledges negative impacts like environmental degradation and strains on community infrastructure. Housing availability, affordability, and overall community capacity are also challenges in accommodating the growing interest in the area.
In conclusion, the report provides valuable insights into the effects of the outdoor recreation sector in rural regions. It encourages stakeholders and the public to engage in the ongoing dialogue about outdoor recreation sector impact. Read the full report to hear the accounts from other communities in B.C. experiencing growth in the Outdoor Recreation Sector.
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