OUTDOOR
RECREATION

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Outside Central: Growing the Outdoor Recreation Economy in the Heart of Louisiana


Launched in 2020, Outside Central, is building an equitable and accessible outdoor recreation culture within the ten-parish region of central Louisiana in order to jumpstart a thriving outdoor recreation economy. This work is done by increasing access to, demand for, and use of central Louisiana’s outdoor recreation assets for everyone. Along with our communities and our partners, we will achieve these goals through network-building, infrastructure development, entrepreneurship, skill-building, regional branding, and industry recruitment & retention. Outside Central is strategically-guided by a 2019 report commissioned by CLEDA and written by The Flurry Group.

ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF OUTDOOR RECREATION
THE OUTDOOR
RECREATION ECONOMY
GENERATES

  • $8

    MILLION SPENT ANNUALLY

  • 59

    THOUSAND
    JOBS*

  • 10TH

    RANKED IN OUTDOOR
    RECREATION
    VALUE-ADDED
    MANUFACTURING

BOATING FISHING

$20.9

RV-ING

$16.9

MOTORCYCLING ATVING

$9.1

HUNTING SHOOTING TRAPPING

$8.8

EQUESTRIAN

$7.8

SNOW ACTIVITIES

$5.6

*Location Quotient: The percentage of total local employment compared to the percentage of total national employment in the outdoor recreation industry

Why Central Louisiana and Why Outdoor Recreation?


Central Louisiana is home to Louisiana’s only national forest, only federally designated wilderness area, multiple national wildlife refuges, the state’s longest hiking trail, and only designated national Wild and Scenic River. Additionally, according to the Outdoor Industry Association, residents of the 4th and 5th Congressional districts, home to much of central Louisiana, “spend an average of $2.8 billion on outdoor recreation each year” (Outside Central, 2019). As a rural region with amazing natural resources, we see the importance of this opportunity to spur economic recovery, grow jobs, and support entrepreneurs. 

Since implementing our first staff-wide Take Your Kayak to Work Day in 2013, we have made a strong commitment to turning the region's many outdoor recreation assets into opportunities. This commitment has led to the following efforts:
  • April
    2019

    Partnered with the U.S. National Forest Service and local community groups to host first-ever Wild Azalea Trail Blitz; 34 residents participated in the event.

  • August
    2019

    Developed three-year outreach agreement with USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service to partner on implementing outdoor recreation planning and programming.

  • October
    2019

    Released report (commissioned for CLEDA) identifying economic impact of outdoor recreation in Central Louisiana.

  • February
    2020

    As part of our inaugural Rural Prosperity Summit, hosted keynote presentation on impact that gravel bike racing has on rural communities. In addition, hosted panel discussion on outdoor recreation featuring community organizations and entrepreneurs.

  • February
    2020

    Formally launched the region's first outdoor recreation initiative, seeking to leverage Central Louisiana's outdoor recreation assets to strengthen the livelihoods of all of the region's residents.

  • August
    2020

    Awarded a New Horizons Grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation to design and implement Outdoor Recreation Fellows, the state’s first outdoor recreation leadership development program.

  • September
    2020

    The Louisiana Central project team began developing a curriculum and engaging with outdoor recreation specialists from around the nation to lead the workshops.

  • December
    2020

    Outreach efforts across the ten parish region on social media, local news programs, and through direct email help build awareness of the program and recruit applications to participate.

  • January
    2021

    The inaugural Outdoor Recreation Fellows leadership cohort convenes for formal workshops to learn about the industry, grassroots leadership, entrepreneurship, and more. Workshops will be followed by community projects using the knowledge and skills gained in the program.

We are committed to increasing access to, demand for, and use of outdoor recreation
opportunities for all people and communities in the Louisiana Central region.

Allen Parish

Home to West Bay Wildlife Management Area and the spring-fed Wiskey Chitto Creek, those looking for paddling, fishing and hunting opportunities will have their fill in Allen Parish. Learn more about one of Louisiana’s most scenic creeks, Wiskey Chitto, by visiting https://www.louisianatravel.com/paddle/trail/ouiska-chitto-creek