The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) and our members have had several busy weeks of trade association meetings and conferences, including the International Boatbuilders’ Exhibition and Conference, the National Forest Recreation Association Conference and Trade Show, the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo, the RV Dealers Association Convention/Expo and more. Inevitably, conversations with leaders and members of the outdoor recreation industry always led back to the same fact: ORR members are doing the hard work of moving the needle on outdoor recreation and access.
Earlier this month, I spoke at a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) leadership conference about ORR and issues surrounding recreation and access, as well as solutions we can work on together. USFS emphasized how important it is that the recreation community come together around common goals through ORR and our collective and powerful voice. I also had many encouraging discussions regarding collaboration and an openness to new and innovative ways to solve problems that included some encouraging words from the Chief of the Forest Service, Vicki Christiansen who said of USFS, “We are resource constrained, but can imagine a different future if we work in a different paradigm.” This dovetails well with our efforts as ORR members are committed to partnering with USFS to think through new ideas and solutions to problems facing recreation, access, conservation and resource use.
ORR also attended the first-ever summit of the National Governors Association Outdoor Recreation Learning Network, which was attended by 13 of the 16 states with Offices of Outdoor Recreation, as well as another 8 states interested in creating an office. These positions are crucial to growing the outdoor recreation industry at the state and local levels, and ORR’s State Working Group is hard at work helping to set up new offices, share our issues and membership support, and ensure these offices grow and bolster each state’s outdoor recreation opportunities.
Last but not least, ORR members led efforts to move the Restore our Parks Act and full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund successfully out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee earlier this week. These critical and bipartisan bills will increase access and improve infrastructure for all recreation on our shared lands and waters.
From New Hampshire to Washington, the voices of outdoor recreation are growing louder than ever – an important step for local economic development growth and expansion throughout the United States. I was privileged and honored to present ORR’s efforts, successes and future goals at many of these events, and I am excited to work with you all to further ORR’s vision in the coming year.
ORR would also like to announce the addition of two new members – The Diving Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA) and the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF). We’re thrilled to add their voices to our efforts as we continue our hard work promoting the outdoor recreation economy and the activities that get more people outside.