The Western Governors’ Association and a coalition of outdoor industry groups have released a joint study which documents the continued growth and importance of outdoor recreation to the economies of the Western states and the nation. With $646-billion in national sales and services in 2011, recreation dollars are nearly double the size of pharmaceuticals and motor vehicles and parts. As another comparison, it powers the economy in a manner just under the financial services and insurance industry and outpatient health care. Specifically, the study shows outdoor recreation in the western states is a $256-billion dollar industry. Western Governors’ Association Chair Chris Gregoire says the study’s numbers are better than they expected. The study, commissioned by the WGA, was conducted by Southwick and Associates. Southwick surveyed households on actual expenditures on outdoor recreation then, based upon that data and modeling, generated the jobs, taxes, payroll and total economic impact.