The past six months have been daunting for all of us. During these unprecedented times we’ve also seen record numbers of people turning to the outdoors as a reprieve from the stress, worry, isolation, and boredom caused by the COVID-19 health crisis. As group events, sports, bars, restaurants, vacations, school and so many other activities are cancelled, people need the engagement outdoor recreation provides – now more than ever.
Struggling with the uncertainties about the fall, many outdoor recreation providers are trying new models of engagement. In addition to minimizing Coronavirus related concerns, smaller local adventure businesses offer an opportunity for kids and families to have an engaging outdoor experience. The benefits these adventurers provide, both mentally and physically, are endless.
Despite the great benefits of outdoor recreation, adventure businesses continue to struggle during these challenging times. Nationally we have experienced record numbers of people on trails and in the outdoors, but Covid-19 has still had a detrimental effect on small businesses. Outdoor recreation businesses have been especially hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic resulting in what a new national survey says has been a large number of furloughs and layoffs.
“We knew there have been tremendous impacts to our members and to the entire outdoor recreation industry, but our survey results show the traumatic impact on every sector and to the heart of this once thriving economic engine,” said Jessica Wahl, Executive Director at Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “Just a few short months ago outdoor recreation was growing faster than almost any other industry, contributed over 778 billion dollars to the U.S. economy and employed over 5.2 million Americans. To see that 79 percent of outdoor businesses have had to lay off or furlough employees and that 89 percent are seeing decreased revenue is jaw dropping.”
The current situation is dire, and local businesses need our help to stay alive, if we want our communities to look anything like they did a few short months ago. “Because of the fragility of the small business community, we’ve found that most have 27 days of emergency cash on hand,” according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Small Business Tom Sullivan. That’s enough to get them through the first pay period. But even with federal and local relief efforts, we’re long past the point where our neighbors need us.
No matter where you live, small businesses form the fabric of our communities. It’s time to get outside & support local! Come climb with us.
Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park is a locally owned, family operated, small business in Charleston SC. Our mission is simple: provide a great outdoor recreation experience while having FUN!