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State of the Industry: ORR Survey Shows a Promising Outlook for the Outdoor Recreation Industry

Still, Nothing Will Make up for the Complete Closures This Past Spring

An updated Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) member survey, in partnership with the Oregon State University Outdoor Recreation Economy Initiative, finds that the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the outdoor recreation industry is showing signs of easing, with some turnaround from what was a devastating spring for the industry. The new August data paints a picture of a resurgence within many sectors of the industry; some areas with record high sales, and more people and newer and younger consumers prioritizing their time and resources during a recession on outdoor recreation. While the trend is heading in the right direction, it has not been universal across the industry and more support is needed as many outdoor recreation businesses are still suffering and in danger of permanent closure.

“According to the US Census Bureau, outdoor recreation was the second most impacted industry this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, next to food and accommodation,” said Lindsey Davis, Vice President of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “The industry experienced a double whammy impact due to both the pandemic related closures that slowed entire supply chains, retail, manufacturing and services and the closures of state and federal parks, marinas, trails, docks and more on our public lands.” 

According to a review of previous responses and ORR’s most recent survey responses of the 23 participating national outdoor recreation trade associations, representing over 25,000 businesses with nearly 2.5 million employees, the numbers show how hard the industry was initially impacted and how things have started to trend better for a lot of the industry: 

Combined Results: (The below statistics represent a change of year-over-year) 

Production / distribution: 

  • April: Of the businesses this survey represents, 89%, are experiencing difficulty with production and distribution, with 68% experiencing significant impacts.  
  • May: Of the businesses this survey represents, 100%, are experiencing difficulty with production and distribution, with 79% experiencing significant impacts.  
  • August: Of the businesses this survey represents, 91% are experiencing difficulty with production and distribution, with 48% experiencing significant impacts.  

Business Revenue: 

  • April: 89% of outdoor industry businesses are experiencing a decrease in sales with 39% seeing a decrease of 50-75% or greater. 
  • May: 94% of outdoor industry businesses are experiencing a decrease in sales with 24% seeing a decrease of 50-75% or greater. 
  • August: 65% of outdoor industry businesses are experiencing a decrease in sales with 17% seeing a decrease of 50-75% or greater. 22% of businesses are reporting in increase compared to one year ago.   

Trade Association Revenue:  

  • April: 80% of outdoor industry trade associations are seeing a decrease in revenue with 30% seeing a decrease of 50-75% or greater. 
  • May: 95%of outdoor industry trade associations are seeing a decrease in revenue with 26% seeing a decrease of 50-75% or greater. 
  • August: 70% of outdoor industry trade associations are seeing a decrease in revenue with 13% seeing a decrease of 50-75% or greater. 9% of trade associations are reporting an increase compared to one year ago.   

 Business Employment: 

  • April: 79% of these businesses have laid off or furloughed a portion of their workforce, with 11% closing, or laying off most of or all of staff.  
  • May: 88% of these businesses have laid off or furloughed a portion of their workforce, with 8% closing, or laying off most of or all of staff.  
  • August: 47% of these businesses have laid off or furloughed a portion of their workforce. 36% of businesses are reporting they are hiring, and more employees are needed.   

“We hope that the trends we are seeing now in outdoor recreation continue, and that some of the issues our members and businesses still face are quickly addressed by policy makers,” said Jessica Turner, Executive Director of ORR. “It has become widely known that recreation is a huge economic driver and with more smart investments like the recently passed Great American Outdoors Act, such as a Recreation Package, this industry will be a key player in economic recovery and a solution to other issues facing the nation such as unemployment, rural development, equity in outdoor access and mental and physical health.”

This is the third time ORR has surveyed its member trade associations, which represent over 110,000 RVing, camping, boating, fishing, powersports, horseback, hunting, skiing, hiking, biking businesses and more, about the impacts their member companies have experienced since the pandemic began.

Passing Great American Outdoors Act is Just Beginning for the Outdoor Recreation Industry

Passing the Great American Outdoors Act was a huge accomplishment for the outdoor recreation industry and the thousands of businesses, large and small, that makeup the $778 billion recreation economy. Now that this huge achievement of fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund and allocating real funding for federal land management agencies’ deferred maintenance on infrastructure at our parks, campgrounds, forests, lakes and rivers is signed into law, the real work for our sector is just beginning. ORR is working strategically with the agencies to get the biggest Return on Investment (“ROI”) for their deferred maintenance projects, update entire recreation sites and experiences, and utilize Land and Water Conservation Funding for rural economic development and increased equitable access to parks and green spaces.

“ORR has already begun to partner on implementation, strategy and transparency while representing the diverse array of outdoor business community needs in the GAOA roll-out,” said Jessica Turner, executive director of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “We are working with agencies like the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the National Park Service to understand their processes for prioritization and classification of Deferred Maintenance projects. ORR is advocating for GAOA funding to focus on the recreation backlog to ensure improvement to existing access and improved recreational experiences. ORR’s analysis indicates that the USFS has the unique opportunity to address the entire recreation backlog with remaining funding for other non-recreation projects.”

“At the same time, ORR is engaging the recreation business community to coordinate with state and federal agencies on LWCF projects that will spur rural development and create equity in outdoor access in communities across the county. It is an all hands effort, but worth every second in order to get the recreation projects we’ve worked so hard to fund moving forward to support local people, communities, businesses and economies.”

Specifically, ORR has the developed the following for GAOA implementation:

A set of deferred maintenance strategy recommendations aimed at planning, contracting and oversight, and highlighting returns on investment for the United States Forest Service to best identify key recreation targets and opportunities as well as successfully solve for the entire recreation maintenance backlog.

An LWCF overview on how prioritization of recreation projects with the now $900 million annual funding can create access in areas far from recreation opportunities and balanced economic development for rural communities.

ORR will continue to provide updates on the remaining work to implement the Great American Outdoors Act in order to help ensure outdoor recreation is accessible for generations of Americans while stimulating the outdoor recreation industry and the U.S. economy now.

ORR Welcomes New Member the Professional TrailBuilders Association

Fresh off the heels of helping to pass one of the most significant legislative actions for the outdoor recreation industry Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) welcomes its 32nd member, the Professional TrailBuilders Association (PTBA), to what is already a strong, diverse and deep membership.

“PTBA is excited that the trailbuilder perspective will be included in ORR’s broad efforts to support quality outdoor recreation on our nation’s public lands,” said Aaryn Kay, Director of Operations of PTBA. “We are proud to be the newest member of ORR.”

“With the addition of PTBA to ORR, every facet of the outdoor industry is truly unifying around our common issues – from access and infrastructure to conservation and rural revitalization,” said Jessica Turner, executive director of ORR. “PTBA will bring another much-needed voice of access to the outdoors to our coalition. We cannot wait to work with them and welcome them to ORR.”

PTBA is the world’s only private sector group of professional trail contractors, designers, and consultants. PTBA represents more than 100 Member Companies who have been professionally vetted and adhere to a strict code of conduct. Since 1976, PTBA members have designed, built, and maintained thousands of miles of trail. PTBA represents the leading edge in sustainable trail development; we believe in trail design, construction, management and advocacy that enhance resource protection, recreational opportunities, economic development, active citizens, and connected communities worldwide.

Revitalize America Through Recreation: A 21st Century Roadmap to Economic Growth

As Americans continue to suffer from COVID-19, wrestle with ways to regain our financial footing, and debate our economic future and priorities this election year, the outdoor recreation industry is well-positioned to play a prominent role in our nation’s economic growth, the physical health of American citizens and the rejuvenation of our national spirit. Seeking to “revitalize America through recreation,” the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) – comprised of 32 national associations representing more than 110,000 businesses nationwide – has released A Roadmap for a 21st Century Outdoor Recreation Economy to frame national discussions around the critical importance of an economic sector that creates jobs, builds healthy communities, and strengthens the health and well-being of our public lands and waters for all Americans.

“ORR members represent large and small businesses in every corner of our country – rural, suburban and urban areas,” said Jessica Turner, ORR executive director. “We know that supporting our outdoor recreation economy will drive a national business growth agenda. Our sector was thriving before the pandemic took hold, and we haven’t been immune to the adverse effects of the virus. However, as more and more Americans seek respite in the Great Outdoors, this sector will recover and make America even stronger.”

Prior to COVID-19, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) determined that outdoor recreation comprised 2.2% of U.S. GDP, generated $778 billion in economic output and employed 5.2 million people, including significant numbers of jobs in rural areas. The sector was growing faster than the economy as a whole in every indicator and was larger than many sectors, including agriculture, mining and utilities and chemical products manufacturing. During the last 6 months, COVID-19 impacts have been severe: 90% of businesses have experienced sales drops, some by as much as 75%; nearly 8 in 10 have cut jobs or furloughed employees; and nearly 90% report difficulties with production and distribution.

At the same time, demand for outdoor recreation pursuits and products has increased: 80% of Americans report participating in outdoor activities during the pandemic, one third of them doing so for the first time. Sales of bikes and bike products are up 81 percent from May 2019 levels, resident fishing license sales are up 10 percent nationwide, boat sales are back to pre-pandemic levels, over 40,000 RVs were shipped in June making it the best month in nearly two years, and new off-highway motorcycle sales saw a 50% increase in the first half of the year, with significant increases in ATV and side-by-side sales.

“All this points to the need to focus on recreation businesses and new strategies for dealing with increased demand and pressure on our outdoor spaces and products,” Turner asserted. “Outdoor recreation can be the answer to a lot of the problems we are facing as a nation, such as high unemployment and health disparities, as well as economic recession and inequality.”

ORR’s revitalization agenda includes four main components, each with specific action items:

  • Recreation infrastructure investments to meet increasing demand and create jobs throughout the nation that grow local economies
  • Improve recreation access to public lands and waters and ensure equity and inclusion
  • Sound conservation policies that help sustain our recreational areas for future generations, including helping manage the impacts of climate change
  • Free and fair-trade policies and practices that ignite innovation and manufacturing

“This agenda recognizes how vital and dynamic this sector is. As our report states, a ‘thriving outdoor recreation economy supports local communities across the country, millions of jobs, healthy people and healthier places.’” Turner concluded.

Future Bright for Outdoor Recreation as Major Legislation Moves Forward

Things are looking up for outdoor recreation businesses and enthusiasts as sales start to come back, more people are enjoying the outdoors and major pieces of legislation passed Congress.

The Great American Outdoors Act — which passed the Senate in June — passed the House last week with a bipartisan vote of 310-107. ORR and our members were at the forefront of this effort, leading the way on the inclusion of the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the deferred maintenance portion of the bill. ORR also brought together almost 130 outdoor recreation businesses on a letter urging Congress to pass the bill. ORR members thanked the members of Congress who helped pass this historic legislation in a special video message. This key ORR priority now moves to the President’s desk for signature and ORR is staying engaged in the implementation process over the coming months.

ORR Executive Director Jessica Turner was asked to testify before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last Thursday on the impacts of COVID-19 on users of public lands, forests and national parks. Topics discussed included how businesses are coping with new restrictions at the same time outdoor participation is increasing, as well as current challenges faced by land management agencies and how future challenges could be addressed in a new recreation package. Full video of the hearing is available on the committee website.

More good news came this week when the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act — which included most provisions of the Recreation Not Red-Tape Act — moved out of the House Natural Resources Committee by unanimous consent. Key provisions include:

  • Modernizing and streamlining the outdoor recreation permitting process to remove barriers and increase outdoor recreation opportunities so more people can easily access the outdoors with safe and memorable experiences.
  • Supporting the creation of outdoor recreation sector leadership positions within state governments, as well as coordination with recreation and tourism organizations within the states to guide the growth of this sector.
  • Extending recreation shoulder seasons on public lands so more Americans can visit our iconic lands and waters in a more sustainable manner.
  • Modernizing fee collection, allowing outdoor recreation passes to be sold online and entrance and amenity fees to be paid digitally/online by park visitors.
  • Helping service members and veterans access the outdoors for health and wellness, and encouraging federal agencies to hire veterans in positions related to the management of federal recreational lands and waters.
  • Establishing an inter-agency trail management plan to manage and maintain in a uniform and consistent manner trails that cross jurisdictional boundaries between federal land management agencies.
  • Creating outdoor recreation performance metrics for federal land managers to ensure outdoor recreation is being prioritized and promoted on federal lands.

The bill now moves to the floor of the House, hopefully in the next few months.

The House also passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) yesterday, which authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to implement critical civilian water infrastructure projects. The bill addresses many top access, conservation and infrastructure priorities of the recreational boating and fishing community and opens the door for additional recreation focused objectives in future WRDA bills.

Other news

ORR is proud to recognize 2020’s Legends Award recipients in a weekly series. Since 1991, Legends Awards have honored federal land and water management agency employees for outstanding work to improve outdoor recreation experiences and opportunities for the American people. Legends Awards are the only awards nominated by agency peers and are given to individuals whose extraordinary efforts have made a concrete difference in enhancing outdoor recreation programs and resources. Be sure to check out recreationroundtable.org/2020-legends/ each Tuesday for a new awardee and a special video message from agency leaders.

ORR Applauds House Passage of the Great American Outdoors Act & Shares Video Thank You Message from Outdoor Businesses

Yesterday, the House passed the Great American Outdoors Act by a bipartisan vote of 310-107. ORR members were at the forefront of this landmark legislation, leading the effort to include maintenance backlog funding for the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; bringing together 127 outdoor recreation businesses in support of GAOA; garnering House support and much more. We thank all of our members for their tireless work to pass this legislation.

“The outdoor recreation industry is ready to usher in the next golden age of the outdoor experiences after the House passed, in bipartisan fashion, the Great American Outdoors Act,” said Jessica Wahl, executive director of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “GAOA is a major 21st century achievement and a reminder that when all sides work together, we can accomplish great things for the outdoors and the nation. We applaud House leaders— particularly Speaker Pelosi, Representatives Cunningham and Simpson, among many others — for helping to get this done. We urge President Trump to sign this bill into law as soon as possible so the outdoor recreation sector can help drive economic recovery in communities across the country and all Americans can connect with outdoor experiences that improve health and quality of life.”

ORR member organizations and businesses sent a thank you video message to members of congress for passing the Great American Outdoors Act and additional ORR member quotes are included below:

“If you’re an RVer, or any kind of outdoor recreation enthusiast, the Great American Outdoors Act is the best thing to happen to our community in six decades,” said Craig Kirby, president of the RV Industry Association. “Thank you to those Members of Congress, especially the RV Caucus members, who voted in favor of this landmark legislation that will direct significant funds toward critical deferred maintenance and campground modernization needs on our public lands and waters. Twenty million RVers across the country depend on our iconic state and federal lands for recreation, conservation, enjoyment, and overnight camping. Enactment of this milestone legislation will mean increased recreation access for all no matter where they live, allowing more Americans to find fulfillment in living an active outdoor lifestyle.”

“Public lands are critical for providing recreational fishing opportunities throughout the nation,” said Glenn Hughes, president of the American Sportfishing Association. “The Great American Outdoors Act will provide long overdue funding to benefit current and future public lands at the local, state and federal levels. Enactment of this historic legislation will benefit recreational fishing, and outdoor recreation in general, for decades to come.”

“For literally millions of small businesses located in gateway communities near national parks and forests, including private RV parks and campgrounds, the passage of this historic legislation will increase opportunities for people to recreate outdoors and support all businesses that make up the outdoor recreation industry,” said Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC). “The Great American Outdoors Act being considered in the House is historic legislation and ARVC would like to thank the House members who have shown support not only for our nation’s most beautiful outdoor spaces but the businesses that rely on those destinations for a large part of their success.”

The House passage yesterday follows the bipartisan Senate passage of GAOA in June.

ORR to Announce 2020 Legends Awards in Weekly Series

Starting tomorrow, the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable will announce 2020’s Legends Awards in a weekly series. Since 1991, Legends Awards have honored employees from federal agencies that manage outdoor recreation on public lands and waters for outstanding work to improve outdoor recreation experiences and opportunities for the American people. Legends Awards are the only awards nominated by agency peers and are given to individuals whose extraordinary efforts have made a concrete difference in enhancing outdoor recreation programs and resources.

Awards are presented to individuals from the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Collectively, these agencies host nearly one billion recreation visits annually, and play a vital role in the vibrant $778 billion outdoor recreation economy that accounts for 2.2% of U.S. GDP and 5.2 million American jobs while supporting rural economies, building healthy communities, and enhancing the quality of life of all Americans.

Winners will be announced every Tuesday via social media, and more information — including special video messages from agency leadership — will be available at www.recreationroundtable.org/2020-legends/.

127 Outdoor Recreation Businesses Urge House to Pass the Great American Outdoors Act

127 outdoor businesses sent a letter to House leadership today urging passage of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). GAOA, if passed, will stimulate the outdoor recreation industry and the thousands of small and large businesses that comprise the growing industry. GAOA would also create more safe and sustainable recreation access while improving infrastructure for all Americans. The 127 cross-sector companies — included, among others, Airstream, Bass Pro Shops, Brunswick, Cabela’s, Columbia Sportswear, Kampgrounds of America, Polaris Inc., Pure Fishing, The North Face, VF Corporation, Winnebago, Yamaha. All of them signed on in order to highlight that investments in conservation and recreation are needed to provide business certainty so the recreation industry can get back to what it does best — grow jobs, support healthy communities, economies and people, and provide more opportunities for everyone to benefit from time spent outside. 

“Our entire industry continues to spearhead support for GAOA — from skiers to snowmobilers, hunters to hikers, campers to RVers and climbers to motorcyclists,” said Jessica (Wahl) Turner, executive director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR). “Businesses have been making calls, running sign-on campaigns and sending letters. This unity in our business community showcases the incredible things we can accomplish when we work together. The House of Representatives has the opportunity to do something that truly outlasts their time in office and that will benefit the nation for decades to come by passing this once-in-a-generation legislation.”

As a reminder, GAOA would provide a critical boost to what was, before the pandemic, a $778 billion a year industry supporting 5.2 million jobs and accounting for 2.2% of United States Gross Domestic Product. According to Outdoor Recreation Roundtable’s member survey and dashboard of the sector, 94 percent of outdoor industry businesses have experienced a decrease in sales and 88 percent have laid off or furloughed a portion of their workforce. The entire outdoor recreation business community urges the House to pass GAOA before the August recess to revitalize this critical sector of the economy and provide more outdoor opportunities for all Americans when they are needed most. 

Read the letter and see the full list of signers.

Senate Passes Great American Outdoors Act

ORR Applauds Senate’s Bipartisan Effort

Today, the Senate passed the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) by a bipartisan vote of 73-25. ORR members were at the forefront of this landmark legislation, leading the effort to include maintenance backlog funding for the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; bringing together more than 100 outdoor recreation businesses in support of GAOA; garnering Senate support and much more. We thank all of our members for their tireless work to pass this legislation.

“The Great American Outdoors Act is the single greatest piece of conservation and outdoor recreation legislation before Congress in decades,” said Jessica Turner, executive director of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “Its overwhelmingly bipartisan passage in the Senate is proof that the outdoors crosses party lines and resonates with all Americans. We applaud Senate Republicans and Democrats for working together tirelessly to get this done. The entire outdoor recreation industry thanks every Senator who supported this bill and urges the House to move quickly to pass this measure so we can finally fully fund LWCF and begin the much-needed work on rebuilding infrastructure on our public lands and waters.”

“As the country takes steps toward economic recovery from COVID-19, federal investment in our public lands and waterways are critical to boost local economies, create thousands of jobs and protect and improve our national parks,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director of the Outdoor. Industry Association. “These investments would also increase community access to nearby parks and trails, helping address gaps between where people live and nearby opportunities. In turn, more Americans will benefit from the health and well-being that parks and trails provide.”

“Public lands are incredibly important for providing recreational fishing opportunities throughout the country,” said Glenn Hughes, president of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). “The Great American Outdoors Act is particularly timely. As the sportfishing industry, along with the country as a whole, continues to recover from the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are grateful to the Senate for helping the long-term recovery of our industry by passing the Great American Outdoors Act, and we call on the House of Representatives to swiftly pass it as well.”

“Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and increased uncertainty as the country continues the process of reopening, it is encouraging to see our nation’s policymakers coming together and prioritizing legislation that ensures both local economies and families can reap the benefits of outdoor recreation activities like boating and fishing,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “Thanks to this overwhelmingly bipartisan effort, the Great American Outdoors Act is one step closer to protecting and expanding outdoor recreation opportunities across the country and we call on the U.S. House of Representatives to swiftly consider and pass this critical measure.”

“The powersports industry, including motorcycle, dirt bike, ATV, and side-by-side enthusiasts appreciate the Senate’s bipartisan support in passing the Great American Outdoors Act,” said Erik Pritchard, president and CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Council, Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America. “GAOA will boost recreation opportunities and the economy by helping powersports dealerships across the country, as well as thousands of manufacturing employees in states like Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan, and Minnesota for our member companies. I look forward to swift approval of the bill by the House of Representatives in the coming weeks.”

“For literally millions of small businesses located in gateway communities near national parks and forests, including private RV parks and campgrounds, the passage of this historic legislation will increase opportunities for people to recreate outdoors and support all businesses that make up the outdoor recreation industry,” said Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC). “The Great American Outdoors Act passed today in the Senate is a historic moment for our nation. ARVC would like to thank the Senators who have supported not only our nation’s most beautiful outdoor spaces but the businesses that rely on those destinations for a large part of their success.”

“As national parks and forests across the country look to safely reopen, it’s encouraging to see the overwhelming support of Senators recognizing the need to direct significant funds toward critical deferred maintenance and campground modernization needs on our public lands and waters,” said Craig Kirby, president of the RV Industry Association. “We are grateful to the Senators who voted today to pass the Great American Outdoors Act and address these issues through this landmark legislation that supports outdoor recreation and conservation in our most treasured lands for generations to come.”

Statements from Outdoor Recreation Business Leaders

“Hunting and fishing are incredibly important to Missouri’s heritage and way of life,” said Johnny Morris, noted conservationist and founder of Bass Pro Shops. “In order to pass these traditions down to our children and grandchildren, we need sound conservation policies like those in the Great American Outdoors Act. We at Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, and Tracker Boats are grateful to Senator Blunt for supporting this incredibly important legislation, which will help conserve and maintain the nation’s public lands for the benefit of current and future generations.”

“As more Americans look to RVs as a way to still get out and see our nation’s majestic public lands while also adhering to social distancing, it is more important than ever for Congress to address the mounting deferred maintenance on these lands through the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act,” said Kevin McArt, general manager of Forest River Inc. “We applaud the 73 Senators who voted for the bill, particularly Senator Todd Young of Indiana who understand the importance of this legislation to create safe and enjoyable experiences for the 20 million RVers across the country.”

“As a Montana-based company with a mission to connect people to the outdoors and each other, we at Kampgrounds of America, Inc. recognize the need for investment in our public lands and waters and stand in support of the Great American Outdoors Act. We applaud the efforts of Senator Daines and Senator Tester in working to advance this landmark legislation which will support the outdoor recreation economy and make the outdoors more accessible,” said Toby O’Rourke, president and CEO of Kampgrounds of America, Inc. “Our campgrounds in Montana and across the country serve millions of camping guests who embrace the benefits of being outside. Further, we know from our research that people are prioritizing the outdoors more than ever as the nation emerges from months of stay at home orders, and we believe that outdoor recreation can play a vital role in our nation’s recovery both from a health and economic standpoint. Passage of the Great American Outdoors Act will help enable that recovery through ensuring necessary improvements are made to outdoor recreation infrastructure, vital jobs are created and that America’s outdoor spaces can be enjoyed for years to come.”   

“Our company and our 3,400 team members across the country are grateful for the Senate passing the Great American Outdoors Act,” Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. said in a statement. “Outdoor recreation brings family and friends together to enjoy our country’s amazing lands while also making a significant contribution to the nation’s economic activity. Kawasaki, as the first foreign vehicle manufacturer to open a manufacturing plant in the U.S.A. in 1974 in Lincoln, Nebraska, is committed to offering products that allow for quality outdoor experiences on land and water. Thanks to the support of the Senate, the GAOA will help ensure these recreational opportunities continue to bring people together to let the good times roll.”

“At Polaris Inc., we are passionate about the outdoors and we applaud the bipartisan support for the Great American Outdoors Act, which promotes conservation and outdoor recreation. #ThinkOutside,” said Scott W. Wine, chairman & CEO of Polaris Inc.

“The preservation of public lands and waters is essential to our industry, our economy, and our well-being,” said Kerry Graeber, Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.’s vice president of Motorcycle Sales and Marketing. “We would like to thank Senators for passing the Great American Outdoors Act during this critical time and for safeguarding the infrastructure of public lands and waters for generations to come.” Suzuki is the sole distributor of Suzuki-brand motorcycles, ATVs, and marine outboard motors in the continental United States. Suzuki-brand ATVs are assembled in northwest Georgia for both the United States and world markets.

“RVers across the country depend on our iconic federal lands for recreation, conservation, enjoyment, and overnight camping. Thanks to the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act by the Senate, we are one step closer to improving the experience of RVers by addressing deferred maintenance needs and campground modernization across federal lands and waters,” said Bob Martin, president and CEO of Thor Industries. “This legislation is critical not only to the RV industry and the significant number of new consumers looking to RVs as a way to travel this summer, but also to the wider outdoor recreation economy. We are grateful for the bipartisan support of this bill and ask that the House quickly follows suit by passing the bill.”

“Today’s passage of the Great American Outdoors Act by the Senate is an important win for not only the RV industry but the greater $778 billion outdoor recreation economy. This legislation will ensure safe and enjoyable experiences for the millions of RVers across the country by addressing the deferred maintenance backlog on public lands and waters,” said Mike Happe, president and CEO of Winnebago Industries. “We are particularly grateful to Senators Joni Ernst, Chuck Grassley, and Todd Young for their dedication to the RV industry and the people of Iowa and Indiana. Enactment of this milestone legislation will mean increased recreation access for all Americans no matter where they live.”

“In the wake of this economic crisis, supporting conservation and the local economies in Georgia and beyond is more important now than ever before,” said Ben Speciale, president of Yamaha’s U.S. Marine Business Unit. “That’s exactly what the Great American Outdoors Act accomplishes, and we applaud the U.S. Senate for coming together on this important legislation.”

Outdoor Recreation Businesses Make Final Push for Senate to Pass the Great American Outdoors Act

102 cross-sector outdoor recreation businesses urge swift passage of once-in-a-generation legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 10, 2020 – Over 100 outdoor businesses, from Fortune 500 companies to mom and pop shops, including specialty retailers, apparel, gear and vehicle manufacturers, outfitters and guides, campground and marina operators, and more sent a letter to Senate leadership urging swift passage of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) in order to stimulate the outdoor recreation industry, made up of thousands of small businesses, and provide safe and sustainable recreation access and infrastructure for generations to come. 

GAOA would provide a critical boost to what was, before the pandemic, a $778 billion a year industry supporting 5.2 million jobs and accounting for 2.2% of United States Gross Domestic Product. According to Outdoor Recreation Roundtable’s most recent member survey and dashboard of the sector, 94 percent of outdoor industry businesses have experienced a decrease in sales and 88 percent have laid off or furloughed a portion of their workforce. As these 102 cross-sector companies identify, investments in conservation and recreation are needed to provide business certainty so the outdoor recreation industry can get back to what it does best — grow jobs, support healthy communities, economies and people, and provide more opportunities for everyone to benefit from time spent outside.  

“Public lands are incredibly important for providing recreational fishing opportunities throughout the country,” said Glenn Hughes, president of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). “This monumental bill is particularly timely. As the sportfishing industry, along with the country as a whole, continues to recover from the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress can help the long-term recovery of our industry by passing the Great American Outdoors Act.”

“The balance between conserving our public waterways and ensuring robust and responsible access to these cherished natural resources is paramount to the recreational boating community, which is why so many boating industry businesses are standing in support of this historic legislation,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “The Great American Outdoors Act will do more to expand outdoor recreation opportunities than any other legislation in recent years and we call on all members of Congress to swiftly pass this commonsense measure.”

“Maintenance backlogs have led to deteriorated trails and facilities, preventing Americans, including our large community of motorized off-road vehicle users, from participating in healthful outdoor activities at a time when we need it most,” said Erik Pritchard, president and CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Council, Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America. “The GAOA would ensure that access and infrastructure on public lands and waters are restored so that families and recreationists can enjoy the outdoors safely and close to home. This would also provide a much needed boost to local businesses that support these activities.”

“The passage of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) means so much more than simply restoring our national parks. For literally millions of small businesses located in gateway communities near these national treasures, including private RV parks and campgrounds, it means increases in Americans recreating and supporting the success of all businesses that make up the outdoor recreation industry,” said Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC). Because of this, ARVC is proud to stand with the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable in calling on Congress to pass the important bipartisan GAOA.”

“As national parks and forests across the country look to safely reopen, it’s gratifying that Congress is recognizing the need to direct funds toward critical deferred maintenance needs and campground modernization on our public lands and waters,” said Craig Kirby, president of the RV Industry Association. “We are grateful that Congress is addressing these issues through this landmark legislation that supports outdoor recreation and conservation in our most treasured lands for generations to come.”

“Our entire industry is behind this — from skiers to snowmobilers, hunters to hikers, campers to RVers and climbers to motorcyclists,” said Jessica (Wahl) Turner, executive director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR). “Businesses have been making calls, running sign-on campaigns and sending letters. This unity shows the amazing work that has been done to get us to where we are on this once-in-a-generation legislation. In the next week, Congress has the opportunity to do something that truly outlasts their time in office and that will benefit the nation for decades to come.”

Read the letter and see the full list of signers.