White House Announces Federal Council To Support Outdoor Recreation

Jul 21, 2022

In the above photo, left to right: Michael Connor, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works; Rick Spinrad, NOAA Administrator; Tom Vislack, Secretary of Agriculture; Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior; Brenda Mallory, CEQ Chair & Advisor to the President

Sec HaalandDuring a ceremony at the White House today, the Biden Administration announced the revival of the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation (FICOR), an interagency effort that includes leaders from the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and Defense. The charge of FICOR is to focus on improving access to nature, expanding outdoor recreation opportunities, and providing the public with improved and more affordable experiences on America’s public lands and waters.

RV Industry Association staff were present for the announcement that included remarks from Outdoor Recreation Roundtable President Jessica Turner, along with leaders from the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Interior, as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“A record number of Americans have turned to RVs as a way to enjoy the health benefits of the outdoors or to pursue their dream of working virtually from their favorite national park campground,” said RV Industry Association Director of Federal Affairs Chris Bornemann, who was present at today’s announcement. “It’s vital that federal land agencies coordinate at the highest level to provide robust access and prepare our parks and forest campgrounds for current and future generations of RV campers and emerging EV technologies.”

The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, along with the RV Industry Association, have been advocating for this convening body’s establishment since the beginning of the Biden administration, meeting with the transition team, agency officials, and cabinet secretaries to discuss the importance of breaking down silos and creating government efficiencies through this coordinated entity.

“The RV Industry Association is honored to be invited to the White House today and applauds the Administration for acknowledging the significant benefits of outdoor recreation and RV camping by creating FICOR to advance federal outdoor recreation policy and to ensure our iconic parks and forest campgrounds are safe, accessible, and continue to be favored destinations for many generations of RVing Americans,” added Bornemann. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Administration, Congress, and the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable to advance these critical issues.”

To help the public understand the significance of today’s announcement, ORR prepared an explainer document to provide context for the development of FICOR, its significance for outdoor recreation in the present moment, and opportunities and key topics it can address.

“Solidifying FICOR could not have come at a better time to support America’s public lands, waters, and $689 billion outdoor recreation economy,” said Outdoor Recreation Roundtable President Jessica Turner. “It is critical that federal land and water management agencies work together to address important recreation issues around funding, overcrowding, and climate resiliency, as well as coordinate on the implementation of newly passed measures that will address the maintenance backlog, infrastructure priorities, and distribution of Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars. ORR and its members are ready to partner however we can on solving these challenges together, as well as collectively approaching the many opportunities that are ahead to help everyone access the outdoors and protect our natural resources.”

FICOR was originally developed under the Obama Administration in 2011 and provided a forum for federal agencies to coordinate recreation management, improve access, and provide a better recreation experience on federally managed lands and waters. FICOR will continue its work on coordination of management policies to provide the public numerous recreation opportunities and help traditionally underserved communities access public lands and waters and the benefits of getting outside.

“The revival of FICOR is critical to the $140 billion RV industry and the wider outdoor recreation economy, which has seen extraordinary growth as people prioritize their physical and mental wellbeing by getting outdoors,” said RV Industry Association President & CEO Craig Kirby. “The increased popularity of RVing and all types of outdoor recreation means greater coordination is needed between federal land and water agencies to provide safe and enjoyable experiences on our national lands for generations to come. FICOR will provide this coordination and ensure recently passed legislation, such as the Great American Outdoors Act, is implemented in a way that will increase access and provide incredible experiences at campgrounds throughout our public lands.”