To date, Offices of Outdoor Recreation (OREC offices) or task forces have been established in 17 states. These offices play a critical role in increasing outdoor recreation participation by working with local communities to improve infrastructure, coordinate recreation efforts statewide and promote the benefits of engaging in outdoor recreation among the citizens of their state. OREC offices have proven to be exceptionally effective at encouraging increased use of the great outdoors and increased participation in outdoor recreation, leading to a stronger economy.
In order to effectively use these offices to further the growth of the RV industry across the country, engagement from RV companies with OREC offices is necessary. Companies can engage with these offices in a variety of ways, including serving on a task force or advisory committee, inviting OREC directors to industry events and providing feedback on how states can support RVing and the outdoor recreation economy.
PARTICIPATION IN INDUSTRY ADVISORY COUNCILS & TASK FORCES
Several OREC offices or task forces have accompanying Industry Advisory Councils to advise the OREC director. Having RV industry representation on these Councils is an extremely valuable contribution that RV Industry Association members can make to ensure the industry has a voice as the Council makes recommendations to the OREC director (and other state agency staff) on ways to improve partnerships, collaborative strategies and policies that will increase the outdoor recreation economy, employment and consumer spending and support conservation and public recreation assets.
On December 12, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Explore Minnesota announced their partnership to launch a new Outdoor Recreation Task Force. The group will make recommendations about how Minnesota can connect more people to the health and wellness benefits of outdoor recreation, improve equitable access to outdoor recreation and better support the state’s thriving outdoor recreation economy. The agencies are accepting applications to serve on the task force until January 10.
INVITATIONS TO INDUSTRY EVENTS
Inviting OREC directors to RV industry events is the perfect opportunity to showcase all our industry has to offer. Recently, Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) Executive Director Bill Sheffer hosted the new Michigan OREC Director Brad Garmon at the Detroit RV Show.
“I appreciated the opportunity to walk the show floor with Bill and hear from him about the trends and opportunities that are impacting the RV Industry,” said Garmon. “From the manufacturing side, to accessory sales, to the end consumers, it’s incredibly helpful to have an experienced guide who understands the complexity of the sector and can point out where their pressure points are. That way, I know where to plug in, and help them grow their economic impact in Michigan.”
These events also provide the ideal venue to make introductions to key RV businesses in the state who can benefit from the work of the OREC offices and provide the feedback and guidance for which the OREC directors are looking.
INTRODUCTIONS AND FEEDBACK TO NEW OREC DIRECTORS
As these offices are established, it is critical that RV companies in the state introduce themselves to the new OREC directors. The RV Industry Association’s government affairs team is working in conjunction with other outdoor recreation groups through the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable to provide new and existing OREC Directors with a one-stop, organized document of the top outdoor recreation contacts in each state with a new or existing OREC office.
These contacts will be the resources for OREC directors as they seek advice in different areas of decision-making, including inviting industry stakeholders to participate in roundtables and serve on advisory councils.
For more information on how your company can be involved with the OREC offices across the country, contact RV Industry Association Legislative Analyst Ashley Brinkman at [email protected].