As Utah is growing, so is its outdoor economy. And Cache Valley is no exception.

The Utah Outdoor Association hosted a public discussion about Utah’s outdoor industry and the economy on Thursday at Logan’s City Hall. A panel of four speakers discussed the future of Utah’s economy and its relation to the outdoor industry.

“Whether you’re climbing or biking or just sightseeing — all impact the economy,” said Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation Director Tom Adams.

Adams said the Outdoor Industry Association in a 2016 report stated the national outdoor industry was worth $887 billion.

“Their jaws dropped,” Adams said. “That’s bigger than oil, that’s bigger than pharma, that’s bigger than so many industries that we would say are large.”

Adams said the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Utah’s outdoor economy was worth $5.5 billion.

“This is a really competitive economy,” Adams said, and it’s grabbing the attention of people nationwide.

Glenn Thimmes, the technology director for Centeva, said the outdoor opportunities in Cache Valley serve as an incentive for talent at a national level. Centeva is a consulting company that provides system support and data management largely to federal agencies. He said when recruiting, Centeva looks for people who want to live here and can imagine a future in Cache Valley.

“To me, the outdoors is the best thing we have to offer here,” Thimmes said, “but it’s a little bit secretive — it’s not as well advertised.”

Moving here at the age of 5, Thimmes said he remembers what Cache Valley was years ago — the valley is growing fast. He said it would be great to see the valley embrace the fact that it is going to grow and plan the growth properly.

“Let’s do it right and let’s benefit from it,” Thimmes said, “and let protect it as well.”

Adams encouraged everyone to contact their legislators and communicate what they are passionate about. Cache County Trails Planner Dayton Crites said local government is very accessible.

“You talk to your local level officials — your city council and your mayor — and they’ll really hear you,” Crites said. “If people speak up and don’t just rely on someone else to do it, it can make some significant change.”