Earlier this year, the Minnesota Outdoor Recreation Task Force (MORTF) was created and charged with developing a set of recommendations for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Explore Minnesota on how to more effectively coordinate and advance outdoor recreation work statewide. The Task Force is jointly led by the DNR and Explore Minnesota.

Members of the Task Force represent a broad swath of outdoor recreation interests in the state, including Winnebago Industries Foundation Executive Director Katy Friesz. Friesz is based out of Minneapolis, Minn., and also manages Winnebago Industries corporate responsibility program.

At MORTF’s upcoming meeting on August 26, RV Industry Association's Legislative Analyst Ashley Brinkman will be presenting on the RV industry’s efforts to establish Offices of Outdoor Recreation (OREC) in states across the country.

“Providing background and lessons learned from the 16 other existing OREC offices and task forces to the MORTF is an incredible opportunity to demonstrate the dedication of the outdoor industry to better advocate for and encourage state government investment in the growing outdoor recreation economy,” said Brinkman. “State governments across the country are recognizing that the outdoor industry is more than just about having fun on the weekends, but an impressive economic engine that fuels rural America and connects people to the beautiful unique natural resources our country provides.”

Brinkman has served as co-chair of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable’s (ORR) State Policy Committee since 2018, helping lead the coalition’s 32 national outdoor industry groups representing more than 110,000 businesses and the full spectrum of activities from skiing to hunting, climbing, fishing, diving, off-roading, boating, RVing, and more in this effort.

“I was excited to be invited to speak to the task force about the benefits we’ve seen from having an OREC Office in a state, especially as we’ve navigated through the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Brinkman. “Having an OREC Director in a state means having an advocate for the outdoor industry within state government, someone who’s mission it is to help our industry thrive – a resource that has been instrumental to the continued health of the RV industry and the outdoor recreation industry in general. I hope the presentation is received well and MORTF, DNR, and Explore Minnesota consider including a recommendation to create an OREC Office in the state of Minnesota.”

Brinkman is joined in this presentation by colleagues with expertise in different areas of outdoor recreation and in-depth experience leading or working alongside offices of outdoor recreation across the country:

  • Jill Sims Policy and Engagement Manager, Great Lakes Region at the National Marine Manufacturers Association & co-chair of ORR’s State Policy Committee
  • Brad Garmon Director of the Michigan Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry
  • Cailin O’Brien-Feeney Director of the Oregon Office of Outdoor Recreation
  • Lindsey Davis Vice President of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable and member of the Utah Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee
  • Bevin Ann Buchheister Senior Policy Analyst at the National Governors Associations Energy, Infrastructure, and Environment Division

The RV Industry Association applauds the commitment Minnesota is making to support the continued growth of the outdoor recreation economy by creating the Minnesota Outdoor Recreation Task Force and hopes to foster close working relationships with Minnesota DNR and Explore Minnesota as they continue this important work.