ORR’s GREAT OUTDOORS MONTH® ENCOURAGES ALL AMERICANS TO GET OUTDOORS
America Gets Outdoors During Great Outdoors Month®
After one of the hardest years in memory, Americans across the country took to the outdoors this June during Great Outdoors Month®, a month-long celebration of responsible, healthy outdoor recreation on local, state and federal lands and waters. Great Outdoors Month® is coordinated by the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable and includes events held throughout the month including:
- National Park Trusts’ Kids to Parks Day – which reached more than 2 million people through social media
- American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day® – which hosted 36,000 participants at 565 registered events across the country
- National Fishing and Boating Week, coordinated by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation
- National Get Outdoors Day, coordinated by ORR and the U.S. Forest Service
- National Marina Days, coordinated by the Association of Marina Industries
- National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Campout
But just because June is over doesn’t mean it’s time to stop getting outdoors. Some events — like National Marina Days and The Great American Campout — last all summer. And of course, there’s still plenty of time to hike, bike, camp, ride, fish, boat and more in our great outdoors.
President Biden Proclaims June Great Outdoors Month®
June 2021 began with a Presidential Proclamation of Great Outdoors Month®. President Biden became the fifth consecutive President to proclaim the month, saying, “Our Nation is blessed by an abundance of incredible outdoor spaces that provide opportunities for exploration, recreation, and rejuvenation. This past year, so many of us have developed an even greater appreciation for the powerful role that outdoor spaces play in our physical and mental well-being — providing outlets for activity, solace, and connection in the midst of a devastating pandemic.”
U.S. Senate Declares June Great Outdoors Month®
In addition to a Presidential Proclamation, the U.S. Senate declared June 2021 Great Outdoors Month® by passing Senate Resolution 273 June 16th. The resolution – led by Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Gary Peters and approved unanimously – recognized the economic importance of outdoor recreation saying, “Regular outdoor recreation is associated with economic growth, positive health outcomes, and better quality of life” This is the fifth year in a row the Senate has recognized Great Outdoors Month®.
It’s Summer and Time to Celebrate the Outdoors!
It’s officially summer. Things are getting back to some semblance of pre-pandemic normal, but with a twist. Many Americans are continuing to prioritize spending time outdoors, just as they have over the past year and a half. With this in mind, it’s as good a time as ever for us to shine a spotlight on the industry that helps us connect with nature, our families, communities, health and wellness, and served as a respite from quarantines and stay at home orders. The outdoor recreation industry didn’t just grow over COVID-19, it improved quality of life, created jobs and upheld economies across the country.
This is why we are extremely proud that like his last four predecessors, President Biden declared June to be Great Outdoors Month® and urged, “all Americans to explore the great outdoors, to experience our Nation’s natural heritage, and to continue our Nation’s tradition of preserving and conserving our lands for future generations.” The U.S. Senate, led by Senators Peters (D, MI) and Daines (R, MT), also passed a resolution proclaiming June as Great Outdoors Month® for the fifth consecutive year, reaffirming the importance the outdoors has to every corner of the nation.
It has also been one year since Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), providing full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund that will create better and more equitable access to the outdoors and $9.5 billion over five years in maintenance backlog funding that will improve the recreation experience and keep our public lands and waters healthy for years to come. These are huge accomplishments the outdoor recreation industry and many others have worked on for decades that came to light during a dark time. We said it last year when GAOA passed, and it remains true today – this is the single most important outdoor and conservation related legislation to pass in decades, and it will reinvigorate our nation’s outdoor infrastructure and protect even more of our lands and waters for us all to enjoy.
The truly remarkable thing about the initiatives mentioned is the immense bipartisan support they received at a time when partisanship is the norm. This underscores that protecting the outdoors and Americans’ ability to access and enjoy them isn’t red or blue. Last year, as millions of Americans sought relief outdoors on our public lands and waters to safely social distance and get away from the stresses of the pandemic, the outdoor recreation economy helped countless local businesses stay open, many of them thriving due to the huge increases in participation.
While we are celebrating these accomplishments for our nation’s public lands and waters, rural communities and the outdoor recreation industry, we must also acknowledge that the pandemic has not been an economic boom for every community, business or employee, and not every American has the same access to the outdoors. We take this to heart and it is why we as an industry are focused on working with rural communities to build or improve their outdoor recreation economies through resources like our rural economic development toolkit. It is also why we have partnered with outdoor recreation industry businesses to create the Together Outdoors coalition to raise awareness of equity and inclusion issues in outdoor experiences and provide education and awareness to help eliminate existing barriers.
This past year reminded us all how important getting outside is to our mental, physical and economic health. The realization policy makers are having through Great Outdoors Month® resolutions, proclamations and GAOA investments is truly cause for celebration. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress, the administration and outdoor recreationists new and old to fully realize the potential of outdoor recreation to help our nation recover, rebuild and reconnect in the coming years.