Economic Importance of Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation: An Analysis of Idaho Counties

Benefits studied:
Uses studied:
Place: All Idaho counties


Off-highway vehicle users in Idaho take about 500,000 trips annually to counties away from their home towns and spend $186 million during these trips. The rural counties near population centers get the most visits, but spending on trips and equipment remains mostly in the larger cities.


This study is relevant for people interested in understanding the magnitude of economic impacts from off-highway vehicles (OHV). The results illustrate that while many recreation trips may occur in smaller towns, spending on trips and equipment remains concentrated in population and retail centers.

The study only surveyed Idaho residents so the findings do not include spending by out-of-state residents.


This study analyzed expenditures in all Idaho counties.

Trail Type

This study evaluated spending for OHV trips.


The purpose of this study is to measure the level of activity and spending from OHV users in counties across Idaho.

This study was produced in cooperation between the University of Idaho Social Science Research Unit and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation.


  • People took 543,000 OHV trips to destinations outside their home county. They spent a total of $186 million during these trips.
  • On average, households spent $343 per trip to counties outside their home county. Thirteen percent of trip spending ($44) was spent in the destination county; the rest was spent in their home county.
  • Valley, Owyhee, and Boise counties are the most popular trip destinations, with 54,000-58,000 trips annually. These counties are close to the state capital and population center, Boise.
  • Idaho OHV owners spent $248 million on OHV-related capital expenditures in 2012. Six counties, the retail centers for the state, accounted for more than half of all spending.


The authors surveyed owners of OHVs registered in Idaho in 2012. They asked respondents to estimate the number of trips, their destination, and trip expenditures during the previous 12 months. They also asked respondents to report their spending on equipment (e.g., OHVs, trailers, tow vehicles, and accessories) during the previous 12 months.


Anderson, C. and G. Taylor. 2014. Economic Importance of Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation: An Analysis of Idaho Counties. University of Idaho Extension Pub. CIS 1195. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho.