Massachusetts became the 18th state to establish an Office of Outdoor Recreation – drawing praise from Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) and bolstering the ability of the nation’s $862 billion outdoor recreation economy to grow even more. Massachusetts’ Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito welcomed an enthusiastic audience full of recreation and conservation advocates to celebrate the new office, which will be housed in the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs. In establishing the new office, the Baker/Polito Administration is making a strong commitment to the Commonwealth’s economy, public health and wellness, equitable access to the outdoors, and increasing collaboration and investment in this vital industry.

Massachusetts joins Maryland and Arkansas as the most recent states to create an Office of Outdoor Recreation since 2020. Eighteen states across the country now have offices dedicated to growing the outdoor recreation economy, announced in 2021 to have been an $862 billion economy (1.9% of GDP) that creates 4.5 million American jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). In the same announcement, BEA noted that Massachusetts’ outdoor recreation economy generated $9.5 billion in GDP (1.5% of state GDP), and 93,422 jobs.

“The creation of the Office of Outdoor Recreation is a huge step forward for Massachusetts, a state that offers a wide diversity of outstanding recreation opportunities,” said Jessica Turner, President at the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “Outdoor recreation in Massachusetts grew 24% in the past year, helping create jobs, supporting rural communities, and promoting conservation of the Commonwealth’s natural resources. We thank the Commonwealth of Massachusetts – including Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito, and Secretary Card – for their leadership in recognizing outdoor recreation’s importance and look forward to working with them to make sure residents and visitors alike benefit from access to outdoor recreation for generations to come.”

“The RV industry applauds the creation of an Office of Outdoor Recreation in Massachusetts, exemplifying the state’s commitment to prioritizing the growth of outdoor recreation and support the thriving RV industry,” said RV Industry Association Vice President of Government Affairs Jay Landers. “In addition to outdoor recreation as a whole, this office supports the more than 200 RV businesses who create nearly 6,000 jobs and pay $451 million in wages in Massachusetts.”

“Coming on the heels of the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ data release highlighting the power of the outdoor recreation economy, today’s announcement from Lieutenant Governor Polito is welcomed news for the robust outdoor recreation industry,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). “Driven by recreational boating and fishing, the $862 billion outdoor recreation economy is on a strong trajectory. The formation of a Massachusetts Office of Outdoor Recreation further strengthens our economic impact while enhancing the economic competitiveness of Massachusetts.”

“Recognizing the critical importance outdoor recreation plays to both the state and national economy, we are pleased to support the establishment of the Massachusetts Office of Outdoor Recreation,” said Randall Lyons, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association. The recreational boating industry in Massachusetts contributes over 4 billion dollars to the state economy and employs over 20,000 men and women within the state. For every $1 spent on transient dockage it equates to close to $4 to the local community where the visiting boater is docked. Boaters are helping to fuel the economy by spending money on shopping, restaurants, lodging, fuel and more.”

“The Confluence of States is delighted to welcome Massachusetts as the nation’s next state to establish an office of outdoor recreation,” said Colin Robertson, Chair of the Confluence of States and Administrator of the Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation. “Massachusetts joins other northeastern states to develop an office including Confluence members Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Vermont, who are among the 17 members of the Confluence of States. We look forward to working with Massachusetts to strengthen the outdoor recreation industry across state lines through our four core principles: conservation and stewardship; education and workforce development; economic development; and public health. Congratulations to each organization and outdoor leader who ushered this inaugural office. We are celebrating this historic moment with you.”