Yesterday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced the creation of an Office of Outdoor Recreation (OREC) for the state of Virginia, adding the Old Dominion to the growing swath of states across the nation that have established an OREC office responsible for helping to grow the outdoor recreation economy.
The Virginia OREC office will be housed within the Commonwealth’s Department of Commerce and Trade and will be staffed by agencies currently working to promote Virginia’s outdoor assets and top ranked business climate. Governor Northam spoke to the continued growth of Virginia’s economy and stated it is a great time to invest in the recession-proof outdoor industry, which remains a driving force of the U.S. economy. The newly created OREC office will be responsible for coordinating and promoting the outdoor industry as well as recruiting outdoor product manufacturers to produce in Virginia.
Secretary of Natural Resources, Matt Strickler, highlighted several impressive environmental initiatives on which state agencies have already successfully partnered. Strickler also affirmed the strong partnerships across the state and within the state agencies for improving and protecting the outdoors.
“The RV industry applauds the creation of an Office of Outdoor Recreation in Virginia and the state’s commitment to prioritizing the growth of outdoor recreation,” said RV Industry Association Vice President of Government Affairs Jay Landers. “In addition to outdoor recreation as a whole, this office will support the nearly 400 RV businesses who create more than 7,000 jobs and pay $340 million in wages here in Virginia. We look forward to fostering a close working relationship with this office as it develops.”
The RV Industry Association, along with other members of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, have called for governors in all 50 states to establish an Office of Outdoor Recreation. As of July 2019, there are four states across the U.S. (California, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Massachusetts) actively pursuing the creation of OREC Offices through their state legislatures in their current sessions. The RV Industry Association continues to be supportive of these important efforts to coordinate outdoor recreation policy and promote economic development among stakeholders in the outdoor recreation industry at the state level.
RVers are avid participators in many outdoor activities, including camping, hiking, biking, fishing, climbing, boating and snow sports. And while outdoor recreation is a significant part of our American heritage, it is also a pillar of our nation’s economy. In 2018, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported for the first time that outdoor recreation represents 2.2 percent of the total gross domestic product (GDP) and contributes $734 billion annually to the U.S. economy. Even more significant, during the period of 2012 to 2016, outdoor recreation grew faster than the U.S. economy overall. And in Virginia, the RV industry has an economic impact of $1.4 billion and pays $110 million in taxes.
For more information on the effort to create Offices of Outdoor Recreation in every state, contact Ashley Brinkman at [email protected].