Outdoor Rec. Industry & Agency Leaders Celebrate 1st Anniversary of GAOA Passage, Discuss Implementation Progress
Washington, D.C. – Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR), the country’s leading outdoor recreation coalition, in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, Department of the Interior (DOI) and a diverse range of outdoor recreation partners, joined together today to discuss implementation of the most important outdoor recreation legislation in the 21st century – the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA).
Jessica Turner, Executive Director of ORR, led off the call with a celebration of the historic anniversary. “GAOA was signed into law one year ago today after passing both the House and Senate by overwhelming bipartisan margins during an international pandemic. This victory during a tumultuous time spoke loud and clear that the outdoors brings our country together and is more valued than ever. It is also abundantly clear, with stories in the press almost constantly throughout the pandemic and now as travel opens up, that our public lands and waters are in high demand for the myriad benefits they provide: from physical activity to mental health and wellness, socializing with friends and family, a connection to nature, not to mention the economic benefits to local communities, jobs and economies.”
Participants celebrated the two major accomplishments of GAOA: the full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the creation of the Legacy Restoration Fund (LRF) to address the $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog across America’s public lands and waters. Both DOI and USDA Forest Service have made significant progress in implementing GAOA in its inaugural year.
- The USDA Forest Service and DOI have identified over a thousand vital infrastructure improvement projects outdoor recreationists rely on, such as campgrounds, roads, bridges, visitor centers, parking lots, trails, water and electrical systems, and more
- Over 150 campground-related projects are being worked on in the first year alone
- DOI is rolling out 165 deferred maintenance projects and an investment of $1.6 billion to improve infrastructure in National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, Recreation Areas, and deferred maintenance needs at the Bureau of Indian Education schools
- 63 additional DOI projects proposed for FY22 totaling over $1.5 billion in investment
- The USDA Forest Service anticipates $1.4 billion in investments to address backlog over the five years of this authority
- In FY 2021, $285 million in projects are being invested throughout the national forest system in 40 states and Puerto Rico
- LWCF funds will now flow consistently to every state and territory each year to protect state and local parks and high-priority lands inside our iconic National Parks, Forests, wildlife refuges as well as to support new parks in cities where residents lack access to the outdoors
- In FY22, over 100 locally-driven projects have been prioritized as ready-to-go conservation and recreation opportunities that will enhance and improve access to federal public lands, protect cultural and historic sites and support working lands in rural communities
Shannon Estenoz, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the Department of the Interior spoke to the importance of partners in executing the GAOA vision. “At Interior, we appreciate the outdoor recreation community’s continued engagement and partnership. GAOA is special because it brings together a broad range of recreation: rivers, trails, conservation, parks, and philanthropic partners. Partnerships are critical to the successful implementation of the Act, so that we can ensure that we leverage the historic federal commitment represented by the Act with state, local, and organizational funding to improve and modernize our stewardship of national resources, accommodate visitor needs, and increase recreation opportunities in ways that align with our equity and inclusion goals.”
Maite Arce, President and CEO of the Hispanic Access Foundation, highlighted LWCF’s benefits for underserved communities and the importance of including these communities in the implementation process. “The impact that LWCF has made can never be fully put into words- from the smallest to the largest of Latino communities, LWCF has been critical in providing communities with what is often their only means to experience the outdoors… These communities not only need more parks, but they need more involvement in management decisions.”
Kristine Stratton, President and CEO of the National Recreation and Park Association described LWCF’s historic significance. “Since LWCF was signed into law, 42,000 state and local park projects in every state in the nation have been funded through LWCF, representing over $4.9 billion in investments. And with the 1:1 match, that means that the fund has created nearly $10 billion in economic activity for local communities. This is a fraction of the economic activity that local parks can generate—in 2017, local park and recreation agencies generated $166.4 billion in economic activity and supported 1.1 million jobs around the country.”
Kate Van Waes, Executive Director of the American Hiking Society, encapsulated the significance of GAOA in supporting the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. “It is evident that more and more people are getting out there and how important outdoor recreation, especially on trails, is for everyone from families out for a Sunday walk to folks trying to reach their favorite fishing spot… American Hiking’s National Trails Day ® reached 45 million people on social media this year, up from 19 million in 2019. The LWCF and LRF are really important for all types of trails from paved urban to single track wilderness, to the bigger, more famous National Scenic, Historic, and Recreation Trail System.”
A recording of the call can be found here.
On behalf of the growing $788 billion outdoor industry, the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable expresses our strong support for quickly advancing bipartisan infrastructure legislation. We appreciate the hard work by President Biden, members of his administration and the US Senate to come to an agreement on a broad and impactful bipartisan infrastructure package that invests in our local communities, our public lands and waters, and our people.
“This infrastructure package represents an extraordinary bipartisan opportunity to not only rebuild our crumbling roads, bridges and airports, but also to improve the infrastructure behind our beloved public lands and waters,” said Jessica Turner, executive director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “Meaningful investments in transportation, public lands, rural development, and natural infrastructure connect more people to the outdoors and strengthen the outdoor recreation economy, which creates jobs, helps us to remain globally competitive, and ensures we recover from the impacts the pandemic had on jobs, local communities, our health and our quality of life. We encourage Congress to advance bipartisan infrastructure legislation and look forward to working with Congress, the administration and their teams on any provisions that would provide needed investments to outdoor recreation.”
Throughout the pandemic, Americans turned to outdoor recreation for health and wellness, transportation, and to safely connect with family and friends. Record numbers of people are accessing the outdoors and there continues to be a growing demand for quality outdoor infrastructure investments. When Americans participate in outdoor recreation, they purchase gear, equipment, food, lodging and more, and contribute tens of billions of dollars in annual tax revenue to federal coffers. Much of America’s recreation infrastructure on federally managed lands and waters is also associated with revenue streams that fund conservation programs – fishing and hunting licenses; entrance and activity fees; campground, slip and launch fees; recreation permits and registration fees; and excise and fuel taxes. Additionally, studies have confirmed that for every dollar Congress invests in the National Park Service, $10 is returned to the U.S. economy, which directly benefits our nation’s rural areas and gateway communities.
Outdoor Recreation Roundtable released the following statement regarding today’s Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) (link) to support economic development through outdoor recreation.
“The EDA’s announcement of $750 million in funds to support gateway communities’ economies is welcome news for the outdoor recreation community as we work to help rural communities recover from COVID-19 and grow and diversify their economies,” said Jessica Turner, executive director of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “Outdoor recreation supports jobs, improves health and increases economic resiliency in rural, and particularly gateway communities, while also contributing greatly to land and water conservation. We applaud the EDA for making this support available and ask that outdoor and outdoor-oriented organizations share this opportunity with community partners around the country.”
ORR educated Congress and the Administration on the need for this funding as communities and businesses reliant on outdoor recreation across the country were impacted by the pandemic. Since Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, ORR and its members have been working with federal and state agencies and partners in the recreation and conservation community to ensure that the $750 million is distributed to communities most in need. In June, ORR wrote a letter to the EDA alongside 42 outdoor recreation and conservation organizations to advocate for outdoor recreation economies in the next round of EDA funding (link). We encourage tourism-dependent communities, states and their Offices of Outdoor Recreation, Tribes, and other public or private non-profit organizations to apply.
EDA announced they will be disbursing $750 million in American Rescue Plan funds to support travel, tourism & outdoor recreation economy development in communities that rely on these sectors, including rural gateway communities. Of this $750 million, $510 million is designated for state tourism grants and $240 million is designated for competitive grants to help communities who have been hard-hit by COVID-related challenges in the travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation sectors.
The United States Senate declared June 2021 Great Outdoors Month® by passing Senate Resolution 273 June 16th. This is the fifth year in a row the Senate has recognized Great Outdoors Month®, which began in 1998 under President Bill Clinton and has grown tremendously under ORR’s coordination as a celebration of America’s public lands and waters with events like the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day®, Kids to Parks Day, National Get Outdoors Day, National Fishing and Boating Week, National Marina Days, the Great American Campout and much more.
“Great Outdoors Month® means so much to the outdoor recreation industry, the hundreds of millions of Americans who enjoy responsible recreation on our public lands and waters and the communities who benefit economically from outdoor recreation,” said Jessica Turner, executive director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “This year, Great Outdoors Month® is more than a celebration of and getting outside; it is also a call to action for those of us in the outdoor recreation community to continue to push for more and equitable access to the outdoors and to support communities as they build their economies around outdoor recreation. We thank Senators Peters (D-MI) and Daines (R-MT) for sponsoring this resolution and look forward to continuing to improve outdoor recreation experiences for everyone.”
Outdoor Recreation Roundtable teams with industry leaders to foster access and inclusion in the recreation economy
The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) has partnered with THOR Industries (NYSE: THO), one of the world’s largest manufacturers of recreational vehicles, to establish a coalition to help ensure everyone feels welcome in all facets of outdoor recreation activities – from camping and fishing to boating, off-roading, archery and beyond.
The Together Outdoors coalition is being established to support and equip the recreation economy in raising awareness of equity and inclusion issues in outdoor experiences and provide education and awareness to help eliminate existing barriers. Open to cross-sector participation, the Together Outdoors coalition will provide training, resources, grants and other ways for manufacturers, retailers, service providers, stakeholders and individuals in the outdoor industry to support the advancement of equity and inclusion in all forms of outdoor recreation and connect with advocacy groups. THOR is funding the development, creation and initial operations of the coalition as part of a multi-year commitment.
“Maximizing access to outdoor recreation is a core objective of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable,” said Lindsey Davis, Vice President of ORR. “Achieving that goal requires more than building infrastructure and creating new parks – it also means enacting policies and partnerships that ensure inclusivity and access to all Americans – no matter who they are or where they live. ORR is proud to be part of this important initiative and we look forward to helping to build Together Outdoors to ensure welcoming and equitable access to outdoor recreation.”
“We’ve listened and heard many of the deep and long-running concerns and obstacles underrepresented groups face when pursuing outdoor adventure,” said Bob Martin, THOR President and CEO. “Enjoying and appreciating nature is important for health and mental well-being and should be welcoming places for everyone. THOR is committed to helping advance outdoor equity and inclusion, so all feel welcome to Go Everywhere and Stay Anywhere.”
The groundwork for the coalition started last year through listening sessions THOR Industries conducted with under-represented individuals in the outdoors and other Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) leaders. Based on their lived experiences, the common learning was that under-represented people often feel unwelcome in the outdoors. With increased awareness and understanding, THOR partnered with ORR to establish a coalition to help impact all sectors of outdoor recreation. The coalition has been and will continue to be designed, operated and informed by close partnerships with experts and others on the frontlines of creating a more inclusive outdoor experience for all.
“The work of diversifying the outdoors is only measurable by the individuals and organizations committed to making it happen. It is not easy, as it demands action, not just words. I’m happy to see THOR join the efforts of so many others, by engaging its partners and community in this work, this is how we make progress. I look forward to seeing this coalition in action.” Teresa Baker, Founder of the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge
The Together Outdoors’ coalition will be shaped by input from an advisory committee of grassroots organizers and advocates with deep experience in the challenges faced by underrepresented groups in their pursuit of outdoor recreation and adventure, along with input from outdoor business leaders, federal agencies and conservation organizations.
The coalition recently completed an extensive national search with fantastic candidates for a full-time outdoor DEI leader, and is excited to have Gerry Seavo James leading the effort. Gerry comes from a multi-generational military family and is based in Kentucky where he’s led broad efforts promoting exploration throughout the state to connect important stakeholders in rural and urban areas and foster inclusion and representation of minorities and people of color. He sees diversifying the outdoors as essential to mental health, economic development, and for creating environmental advocates, and is ready to lead this effort on a national scale.
“As a J.E.D.I (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) advocate and founder of a small outdoor recreation and environmental social enterprise, I’ve seen the positive impact outdoor recreation has on public health, natural resource protection, leadership development, and advancement of a future fueled by sustainability. I’m excited to be part of such a transformative project that will continue the process of the outdoor industry taking deep and intentional steps to center diversity, equity, inclusion, and representation,” said Gerry Seavo James, Coalition Lead for Together Outdoors.
The following organizations have committed to joining the Together Outdoors coalition: National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Forest Foundation, Motorcycle Industry Council, Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, Brunswick, Simms Fishing Products, Archery Trade Association, The Recreate Responsibly Coalition, Hipcamp, The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, Airstream, Inc., Go Camping America, THOR Industries, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable and TOGO Group.
“As outdoor recreation leaders, we play a key role in ensuring that everyone has equal opportunities to access and enjoy the outdoors,” said Erik Pritchard, President and CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Council. “Through the Together Outdoors Coalition, we can amplify our efforts with cross-sector industries to help make outdoor experiences inclusive and truly welcoming to all.”
“Fishing has the power to unite people, heal our bodies and minds, relieve stress, and develop character,” states Diane Bristol, Senior Director, Employee & Community Engagement for Simms Fishing Products. “Everyone should have access to these advantages, which means we welcome all anglers, no matter the gear in their quiver – or their ability, race, gender, religion, nationality or political ideology.”
“Everyone in America deserves to feel welcome in the outdoors. The Recreate Responsibly coalition and its more than 1200 members are thrilled to see this effort to build a more inclusive outdoors through the Together Outdoors coalition. In the past year, as millions of people have enjoyed outdoor recreation, it is more important than ever that the outdoor industry, manufacturers, local leaders, and nonprofits work together to create a more inclusive and welcoming outdoor experience,” Tania Lown-Hecht, Recreate Responsibly Coalition Co-Founder.
“At the National Forest Foundation, we believe that public lands, and all that they offer, are an American treasure and are vital to the health of our communities,” said Mary Mitsos, President and CEO of the National Forest Foundation. “We understand the importance of ensuring these lands are safe, accessible, and inclusive to all Americans. Joining the Together Outdoors coalition will allow us to increase our impact while promoting diverse representation and stewardship within our National Forests and Grasslands.”
“Representing privately-owned RV parks/resorts, campgrounds and glamping businesses across North America, we are proud to join the Together Outdoors partnership to enhance the experience for all RVers and campers,” says Paul Bambei, president and CEO of The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. “Interest in RVing and camping is growing with every minority group—and we want to see them camping even more — so joining this coalition is just one of the many ways ARVC is helping our members create memorable experiences, ensuring everyone, no matter their background, feels welcome and comfortable enjoying the outdoors.”
“Our public lands and waters are open to everyone, and the recreational boating industry is committed to ensuring the great outdoors are an inclusive, safe, and welcome place for all,” said Kate Plush, vice president of human resources at the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). “We look forward to working with our coalition partners as we step up our efforts to eliminate all barriers to outdoor recreation across the country.”
“Bowhunting connects people to the outdoors and their table in a very personal and intimate way,” said Matt Kormann, CEO of the Archery Trade Association. “Anyone should be able to experience this profound opportunity without limitation. We recognize, support and are committed to the work that is necessary to ensure that everyone feels welcome and safe whether entering the woods or a shop.”
“At Hipcamp, we believe that in order to get more people outside, the outdoors must be safe, accessible, and inclusive for everyone, especially underrepresented communities,” said Hipcamp CEO and Founder, Alyssa Ravasio. “We’re eager to join Together Outdoors to provide training and other resources to create a more inclusive outdoor experience.”
For more information and to learn how be a part of Together Outdoors, please visit TogetherOutdoors.com.
Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, the nation’s leading outdoor recreation coalition, released the following statement on the Department of the Interior’s and Department of Agriculture’s announcement today regarding $2.8 billion in projects, grants and programs authorized in last year’s Great American Outdoors Act to expand access for recreation on public lands.
“The Great American Outdoors Act is the gift that keeps giving to the outdoor recreation industry, our public lands and all Americans who enjoy the outdoors,” said Jessica Turner, executive director of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “This $2.8 billion commitment for access and recreation on public lands will truly help to improve the outdoor experience through updated infrastructure while also building climate resiliency on our public lands and waters so future generations can explore these places, support the economy through recreation and help people heal through increased local public access. We applaud this commitment to the $788 billion recreation industry and look forward to working with the agencies to ensure these funds connect all Americans to outdoor recreation.”
Annual Outdoor Recreation Conference Focused on Impacts of the Pandemic on Participation and Access, Rural Economic Development, Conservation, the Future Workforce and More
This week over 150 outdoor recreation industry leaders came together with federal agency and conservation partners for Outdoor Recreation Roundtable’s annual forum, Partners Outdoors. During the first day of the virtual event attendees participated in discussions on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry, participation trends, how the recently passed Great American Outdoors Act and fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund will improve outdoor recreation infrastructure and access, and how rural communities can build their economies through recreation. The event coincided with the start of Great Outdoors MonthⓇ and a Presidential Proclamation from President Biden. Coordinated by ORR and celebrated every year in June, Great Outdoors MonthⓇ encourages healthy, active outdoor recreation through hundreds of local events organized by partner organizations taking place in all 50 states. President Biden is the fifth president in a row to sign a Great Outdoors MonthⓇ proclamation.
Partners Outdoors was kicked off by Colorado Congressman Joe Neguse (CO-2), and featured keynote addresses by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz and the Chief of the United States Forest Service. The conference included over 40 speakers hailing from the White House, the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Oregon State University, Motorcycle Industry Council, Outdoor Industry Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, KOA, Vista Outdoor, Brunswick Corporation, Rivian, the Business Roundtable, the Greening Youth Foundation and many more.
“Now is the time to deliver recreation differently, and more importantly, to expand access to public lands and benefits for all Americans,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The visitation increase we saw in 2020 and expect to see again this year provides a great opportunity to meaningfully serve more Americans, increase the economic vitality and quality of life in communities, improve mental and physical health, and connect even more people to conservation.”
The event highlighted building the outdoor recreation workforce through diversified talent pipelines, developing trainings for anticipated skills gaps, and enhancing career pathways into the industry – all challenges for a powerful but growing sector. The event also included sessions on the future of recreation funding, management and policy, as well as how the industry can foster increased inclusivity.
“At this year’s Partners Outdoors event we had a lot of catching up to do after not holding one in 2020 due to the timing of the pandemic. With an increase in outdoor participation across the nation, the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act and full and permanent funding of LWCF, impacts of climate change and dynamic changes in recreation demand and technology, recreation as a rural economic driver and inequities in access, this convening was as informational as it was exciting and solution-oriented” said Jessica Turner, executive director of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “Any one of those issues would make for major discussions at Partners Outdoors, let alone all of them! We are so thankful for our informative speakers, everyone who attended and our sponsors including Brunswick Corporation, CHM Government Services, KOA, the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition, Mindgrub, Ocean Spray, Oregon State University Center for the Outdoor Recreation Economy, the VF Corporation, Vista Outdoor and Vista Outdoor Foundation and Winnebago Industries.”
ORR and the recreation community also celebrated 2020’s Legends Awards recipients during the event. 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.
Partners Outdoors offers organizations from across the industry a chance to take a deeper look at challenges and opportunities facing the outdoor recreation community and begin to chart a path forward so that we can continue to work together on these common goals and provide actionable solutions.
Check out the Partners Outdoors website for more information, as well as videos from the event as they are posted: https://recreationroundtable.org/partners-outdoors/.
Outdoor Recreation Roundtable threw its support behind Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Blake Moore’s (R-UT) reintroduced Recreation Not Red Tape Act to lower obstacles for people to recreate in, improve and prioritize the outdoors. The bill tackles cumbersome permitting and other processes for outdoor guides, as well as trail and forest maintenance while encouraging the federal land and water management agencies to prioritize outdoor recreation and access. Lowering barriers, improving management and streamlining access will help outdoor recreation contribute even more to economic recovery, jobs, and healthy people and communities.
“Outdoor recreation is a major force in the nation’s economy, contributing $788 billion in economic output and supporting 5.2 million jobs. As our industry grows in popularity and economic impact, federal agencies need updated tools to provide sustainable and improved access to, and infrastructure on, America’s public lands and waters,” said Jessica Turner, executive director of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “The Recreation Not Red Tape Act offers sensible, 21st century proposals for identifying and appropriately managing our unparalleled outdoor recreation assets now and into the future.”
“The $122 billion horse industry applauds Sen. Wyden’s (D-OR) and Rep. Moore’s (R-UT) re-introduction of the bipartisan ‘Recreation Not Red Tape (RNR) Act,’ an important bill that leverages taxpayer dollars by promoting the role of volunteers in trail maintenance,” stated Jean Ligon, President of the Michigan Horse Council and Chair of the American Horse Council’s (AHC) Recreation, Trails and Land-Use Committee. “According to a 2017 economic impact study, the nation’s recreational riders account for 13 million U.S. households. This will prove to be an invaluable resource to promote stewardship of the nation’s public trails,” stated Julie Broadway, AHC President.
“The ATA applauds Senator Wyden and Congressman Moore for the introduction of this common-sense legislation”, said Matt Kormann, President and CEO of the Archery Trade Association. “Collectively, the innovative changes targeted in this legislation will further enhance the customer experience and accessibility for recreating on our nation’s incredible array of public lands.”
“Outdoor recreation is important to our economy, and access to public lands is important to the millions of Americans who wish to recreate in fun, healthful ways,” said Erik Pritchard, president and CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Council. “The Recreation Not Red Tape Act would remove barriers for recreation permits and volunteer participation, ensuring that powersports enthusiasts and others have access to federal lands.”
“At a time when millions of Americans are seeking the health and wellness benefits provided by activities like boating and fishing, we must seize every opportunity to reasonably and responsibly expand access to outdoor recreation, which is exactly what the Recreation Not Red Tape Act (RNR) will accomplish,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “As we head into peak outdoor recreation season, there is no better time for Congress to swiftly pass this measure and deliver the significant economic contributions generated by these activities to the communities that need them the most.”
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans embraced the outdoors as a place to spend their time and improve their mental and physical well-being,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director of Outdoor Industry Association. “As a result, the outdoor community is welcoming many new participants including more women, more ethnically diverse groups, and those who live in urban communities. Building on this historic momentum requires a commitment to expanding access to these outdoor spaces for people of all walks of life. This important legislation does just that by reducing bureaucratic hurdles and prioritizing outdoor recreation, as well as ensuring the $778 billion outdoor industry and its 5.2 million workers can continue to be a key part of our nation’s economic recovery.”
“As enjoyment of our public lands and participation in bicycling and outdoor recreation grow, we need federal action to keep up with demand. PeopleForBikes supports the Recreation not Red Tape Act from Senator Wyden and Congressman Moore because it will make it easier to designate National Recreation Areas, expand access to the outdoors and promote local economic development,” said Noa Banayan, director of federal affairs at PeopleForBikes.
“Sixty-five million Americans will go RVing this year and many of their adventures lead them to our public lands and waters,” said Jay Landers, RV Industry Association Vice President of Government Affairs. “The Recreation Not Red Tape Act will improve the experiences of these RVers by making recreation a priority on federal lands, improving recreational access, and removing unnecessary barriers so all Americans can enjoy outdoor recreation experiences. Of particular importance to RVers, this bill tasks federal land agencies to develop management plans for extending the recreation season or increasing recreation use in a sustainable manner during the offseason. This provision will help address federal campground overcrowding threatening the growth of the $114 billion RV industry, which drives economic growth in the surrounding local communities and economies.”
For almost 30 years, Partners Outdoors has been the premiere venue where stakeholders from the federal agencies, business, and non-profit sectors come together to discuss the future of outdoor recreation. The annual conference hosted by the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable is back and scheduled for June 1 & 2, 2021 after a year hiatus due to COVID.
“We encourage anyone with an interest in the future of outdoor recreation and land and water management, funding, equitable access and infrastructure to attend this virtual two-day event and participate in discussions around the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on outdoor recreation, the future of the recreation workforce, recreation policy and more,” said Jessica Turner, executive director of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “The networking and conversations that occur during Partners Outdoors will be extremely beneficial for the public, private and nonprofit sectors as we begin to implement the Great American Outdoors Act, prioritize Land and Water Conservation Fund projects, work with the new Biden Administration on recreation priorities and set a course for bipartisan recreation policy in Congress.”
This year’s Partners Outdoors will be June 1st and 2nd and will include key speakers and leaders from the White House, Congress, National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Forest Service, as well as ORR members, university partners, and cross-sector business leaders, such as Vista Outdoor, Winnebago, KOA and more. Together, these partners will work on the outdoor recreation industry’s most important issues. Session topics will include:
- Impacts of COVID-19 on Outdoor Recreation;
- Recreation and Conservation Working Together;
- 21st Century Outdoor Recreation Workforce; and
- The Future of Recreation Management and Policy among much, much more!
Check out the Partners Outdoors website for a link to register, and more information: https://recreationroundtable.org/partners-outdoors/.
ORR Encouraged by Administration’s Commitment to Recreation Access in ‘America the Beautiful’ Report
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, the nation’s leading outdoor recreation coalition, released the following statement on the Biden administration’s ‘Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful’ report.
“The bottom line is that access to healthier public lands and waters means more opportunities for Americans to recreate outside and for communities’ economies to thrive,” said Jessica Turner, executive director of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “ORR supports the administration’s ‘Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful’ effort and we are encouraged by its goals to conserve and protect our nation’s lands and waters through science-based, locally led efforts that create access to motorized, non-motorized, fishing and hunting recreation opportunities for all. We are also particularly pleased that this report prioritizes recreation access that already exists, while recognizing that access needs to be maintained sustainably in the future as places are conserved.”
Turner continued, “We believe sustainable management of our great outdoors is paramount for us to address climate change while further bolstering the outdoor recreation economy. We also appreciate the report’s acknowledgment of the connection between healthy places, healthy communities and jobs. We plan to work with the administration on the implementation of ‘America the Beautiful’ and to have outdoor recreation representatives advise in this effort. Together, we can continue to build on Americans’ love for the outdoors and outdoor recreation for generations to come.”
Glenn Hughes, president of the American Sportfishing Association added, “The 30 by 30 initiative has generated a lot of attention within the recreational fishing community. We are pleased that the Biden Administration is approaching 30 by 30 with an understanding of the significant cultural, economic and conservation benefits that recreational fishing provides the nation, and emphasizes the value of increasing access for outdoor recreation.”
“As a community dependent on clean water, healthy fisheries, and reasonable and responsible access to our natural resources, implementing this plan will put us on a trajectory toward maintaining and advancing these conservation objectives,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “We appreciate the administration’s balanced approach to 30 by 30, and on behalf of the uniquely American-made recreational boating industry, NMMA strongly supports this collaborative effort.”
“The conservation of more of our public lands means more places for RVers to visit for generations to come,” said Jay Landers, vice president of government affairs at the RV Industry Association. “We applaud the 30 by 30 efforts and look forward to working with the Biden Administration to ensure these efforts include balanced land use and increased access to recreation activities.”
Earlier this year ORR developed a set of recommendations for the Biden administration as it developed its 30 by 30 goals and actions. Those recommendations are available here.