Virginia joined a growing number of states that have embraced the importance of the outdoor industry by establishing an Office of Outdoor Recreation – drawing praise from the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR). Governor Ralph Northam unveiled the office at an event today in Roanoke, VA,  which was attended by ORR and its members – including the National Marine Manufacturers Association and RV Industry Association – as well as partner the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and local business Missile Baits. This action represents a sincere effort by the state to commit to strengthening an already crucial part of the Old Dominion’s economy and increasing collaboration and investment in this vital industry.

Virginia joins Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico and Wisconsin as states that have created Offices of Outdoor Recreation in the past few months. Fifteen states across the country now have either offices or task forces dedicated to growing the outdoor recreation economy, which is growing faster than the economy as a whole.

“The creation of the Office of Outdoor Recreation is a huge step forward for Virginia, one of my favorite states to recreate in,” said Jessica Wahl, executive director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “Outdoor recreation in this state generates billions of dollars each year, creating jobs, supporting rural communities and promoting conservation. We thank the state of Virginia – including Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew Strickler and Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade for Rural Economic Development Cassidy Rasnick – for their leadership in recognizing outdoor recreation’s importance and look forward to working with them to make sure residents and visitors alike have access to their public lands and waters for generations to come.”

“It was great to see the Governor creating a real initiative to promote outdoor recreation in Virginia,” said John Crews, president of Missile Baits. “As a pro bass angler and fishing lure business owner, I know that Virginia can be an even greater destination for anglers, which translates into increased business for many industries.”

“With this move, Virginia joins the growing number of states that have created an office dedicated to advancing outdoor recreation opportunities and the businesses and jobs they support,” said Nicole Vasilaros, National Marine Manufacturers Association senior vice president of government and legal affairs. “Led by boating and fishing, outdoor recreation generates a significant amount of economic activity each year and this office will help ensure our industry – and our beloved pastimes – continue to thrive.”

“The RV industry applauds the creation of an Office of Outdoor Recreation in Virginia and the state’s commitment to prioritizing outdoor recreation,” said Jay Landers, RV Industry Association vice president of government affairs. “In addition to outdoor recreation as a whole, this office will support the nearly 400 RV businesses who create more than 7,000 jobs and pay $340 million in wages here in Virginia.”