US Army Corps of Engineers
Institute for Water Resources

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Value to the Nation


Recreation: Economic Impact

Recreation at Corps lakes is more than fun and games. It also is an important part of the local economy. Businesses can see the investment opportunities when thousands of people are drawn every day to an area. Restaurants spring up, along with hotels, resorts, boat marinas, and sporting goods stores. Soon, word spreads through the region of the lake's pleasures and more people begin to visit.

Nationally, Corps lakes attract about 250 million recreation visits every year, and the economic impact on these areas is enormous. The total economic benefits with multiplier effects on local communities (within 30 miles of a lake) include 76,000 jobs and $2 billion in annual salaries and wages of the $8.5 billion in visitor trip spending. At the national level, visitors to Corps lakes also spend an additional $2.1 billion on trips outside the local communities. That is $10.6 billion a year in trip spending by Corps lake visitors and a total of 189,000 jobs to the nation's economy.

Graphic illustrating recreational activities

Fast Facts

VTN Fast Facts map