Having fun outdoors is good business for New York, with hiking, boating and fishing generating billions of dollars for the state's economy, a report recently released by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office found.

But like any other sector of the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor recreation took a hit during the start of the public health crisis, though it did not decline as dramatically as other industries.

Overall, outdoor recreation during the first year of the pandemic in 2020 generated $21.1 billion in economic activity, and supported more than 241,000 jobs and $13.1 billion in compensation. Most of those jobs are found in arts, entertainment and food services.

While it's only a fraction of New York's GDP that makes up outdoor recreation, New York is among the top 10 states for a variety of facets, including second for outdoor festivals, concerts and sports; third in camping and hiking; and fourth in boating and fishing as well as amusement parks.

And even as more people started to hold events outside and discover hiking or boating during the pandemic, the economic sector outdoor recreation was still negatively affected by the COVID pandemic.

Economic activity declined by 21.5% in 2020, and activities that involve large groups of people dropped by 36%. Large-scale events like sports, festivals and concerts -- many of which were cancelled in the wake of the pandemic -- decreased by 53%, the report found.

This, in turn, led to a decline in jobs in the leisure, hospitality and transportation sectors. Those jobs suffered the greatest losses of jobs during the pandemic in New York as tourism dramatically declined from 2019 to 2020.

Still, the economy surrounding the great outdoors did not decline as most other industries in the state. And some things like boating and fishing as well as hiking and camping actually saw gains. Water activities, in particular, rose by 31% in 2020.

"While the pandemic caused both visitors and tourism dollars to decrease, it also resulted in a shift to conventional outdoor recreation; these activities were both less limited during the pandemic and were perceived as safer than indoor activities and gatherings," the report found.