As part of the RV Industry Association’s efforts to establish an office of outdoor recreation in every state, the government affairs team, in coordination with the Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council, helped introduce a bill in The Hoosier State to expand the role, duties and goals of the current director of outdoor recreation in the state.
Senate Bill 244 was introduced on January 3, 2019, and if passed and signed into law, the director of the Indiana Division of Outdoor Recreation will now be tasked with coordinating outdoor recreation policy and promoting economic development with stakeholders in Indiana’s outdoor recreation industry. These new duties are aimed at improving the current outdoor recreation industry in Indiana and cultivating new outdoor recreation business opportunities.
Importantly, the director will develop strategies to increase the number of new jobs directly or indirectly related to outdoor recreation and will address workforce issues. In addition, the director will recommend initiatives to the governor to improve recreational experiences and provide the legislature an annual report on the impact of the outdoor recreation industry across the state.
The establishment and expansion of offices of outdoor recreation in each state is critical because outdoor recreation is not only a significant part of our American heritage but is also a pillar of our nation’s economy. In 2018, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported for the first time ever that outdoor recreation represents 2.2 percent of the total gross domestic product (GDP) and contributes $734 billion annually to the U.S. economy.
Establishing or expanding these offices in every state will continue to grow the economic contributions of the outdoor recreation economy and create the resources needed to address campground modernization and expansion.