The RV Industry Association, working with our partners in the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, has been a leader in the mission to establish Offices of Outdoor Recreation (OREC offices) in all 50 states. To date, we have now celebrated the creation of 17 such offices or task forces. Seven of those successes have occurred just within the last year. This showcases the incredible momentum we have been gaining for this effort as states recognize the intrinsic value the outdoors offers for residents and tourists and the need to better invest in the future of that unique asset.
However, the RV Industry Association, along with many others in the outdoor recreation industry and conservation community, were extremely discouraged by recent announcements to effectively dismantle the Oregon OREC office because of state funding issues. Since its creation in 2017, Oregon’s OREC office has set an example for other states in how we can better invest in the outdoors and the incredible benefits that can yield. Oregon has been at the forefront of demonstrating support for the outdoor recreation industry in general.
While we empathize with the difficult fiscal situation Oregon faces right now, being the first state to ever eliminate an OREC office would set a concerning precedent at a crucial time as the other 16 states with outdoor recreation offices or task forces also navigate funding issues in the coming months. The implications of this action would be felt across the nation.
The RV Industry Association and a coalition of outdoor industry and conservation groups submitted a letter to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission ahead of their recent meeting to emphasize our strong opposition to any decision to eliminate the OREC office. During the current pandemic, we have seen the value of having an OREC Director in a state whose job and mission it is to advocate for the outdoor recreation economy, of which the RV industry is a vital sector. We have been able to reach out for guidance and assistance that has been extremely helpful in advocating for the RV industry during the current public health crisis.
We are thankful that a short-term funding solution has been determined through December 2020 with help from the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and the Oregon State Marine Board when the State Parks Department was unable to continue the funding. The Oregon OREC office is invaluable to the long-term success of the outdoor recreation economy in the state and we will work to ensure that the important work of this office continues and to determine a more stable future for the office as we approach the December funding deadline.