In late February, the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) called for governors in all 50 states to establish an Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC) and reaffirmed its commitment to working collaboratively with state leaders to advance outdoor recreation priorities across the country.
This call follows the National Governors Association Winter Meeting the week prior in Washington, D.C., during which ORR met with several governors and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to discuss the importance of the outdoor recreation industry to state economies. The discussions between ORR members and participating governors, including Govs. Matthew Mead (R-Wyo.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) and Gary Herbert (R-Utah), centered around the need for OREC offices in every state to facilitate greater public participation in outdoor recreation activities and generate stronger local economic activity. Each governor was honored for his contribution to the great outdoors and was presented with a commemorative challenge coin for the commitment to delivering prosperity and fun through outdoor recreation.
“OREC offices have proven to be exceptionally effective at encouraging greater use of the great outdoors,” said Derrick Crandall, ORR president. “Greater participation in outdoor recreation means a stronger economy – something each of the governors we honored last week fully understands. As the prime months for outdoor recreation are upon us, we encourage all governors to join their peers who are already experiencing the benefits of an OREC office in their state.”
OREC offices play a critical role in increasing outdoor recreation participation by working with local communities to improve infrastructure, coordinating recreation efforts statewide and promoting the benefits of engaging in outdoor recreation among the citizens of their state. To date, OREC offices have been established in eight states: Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.
“It was an honor to welcome so many leaders who share in our enthusiasm for enhancing outdoor recreation in the United States,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, ORR vice chair and president of the RV Industry Association. “As the nation’s premier outdoor recreation coalition, ORR looks forward to working with the nation’s governors to develop OREC offices in all 50 states so that we can maximize the rapidly growing economic impact of our industry nationwide.”
February also marked when the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account of the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis – the government agency responsible for reporting U.S. GDP – calculated for the first time the outdoor recreation industry’s annual gross output: $673 billion, or 2 percent of GDP, which surpasses other sectors such as agriculture, petroleum and coal, and computer and electronic products. The report also showed the outdoor recreation industry’s GDP has increased an average of 4.4% since 2012, significantly greater than the 3.6% average increase in the overall U.S. GDP. This is the latest evidence of the rapid growth of the outdoor recreation industry.