The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bill requiring the federal government to track the impact of outdoor recreation on the economy.

“The great outdoors is really what has made Colorado so attractive, and it's been a huge part of our economic growth,” said Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, who co-authored the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act. “One of the things that guides policies at the federal level, is knowing what sectors are doing well.” 

The Outdoor Industry Association estimates outdoor recreation in Colorado alone supports 125,000 jobs and contributes more than $13 billion to the state’s economy. Now federal officials will consider the industry when they calculate the gross domestic product nationally. Gardner hopes it will convince other Republican lawmakers to prioritize recreation in some land use decisions. 

“We have multiple use of our lands, and we need to make sure that we understand the benefits of all economies when it comes to making decisions about federal policy," he said.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill before he leaves office.