As part of “Made in America Week,” Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, key administration officials, and several members of Congress hosted representatives of the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable, including MRAA, at the U.S. Department of the Interior for a dialogue on improving outdoor recreation on public lands.
ORIR members representing recreational boating and other sectors of the recreation industry discussed how improving infrastructure, encouraging innovation, and developing new and enhanced public-private partnerships will give the American people more opportunities to enjoy healthy, active fun on their public lands and waters, while helping outdoor recreation continue to grow as a powerful and positive economic force in America.
Public-private partnerships have existed on public lands and waters for more than a century and currently provide a vast array of services across the country. From the iconic lodges of our national parks, to world-class ski resorts on national forests, federal agencies and private industry have a proven history of working together to provide great activities on public lands. Expanding partnerships would allow park rangers to focus on welcoming visitors with a great experience, rather than on less mission-focused activities like fee collection and trash collection.
In a recent article penned by Secretary Zinke, he had this to say about the type of partnerships that the ORIR is exploring:
"Expanding partnerships will allow parks and public lands to deliver better services to more visitors, while allowing our rangers to focus on things like the health of the ecosystem, guided tours, educational services, and land management.
The All-American Outdoor Experience is part of who we are as Americans, but it’s also a big economic driver for communities across the country. As a whole, the outdoor recreation industry generates $887 billion in consumer spending and supports 7.6 million American jobs, according to industry analysts In addition, the revenue the industry produces is a major boost to our economy. ”
Following the meeting, Secretary Zinke joined the group outside at a showcase of American-made outdoor recreation equipment including boats, RVs, off-road vehicles and more. “One of my top priorities is to expand recreational access to public lands and waters. Today I'm excited to announce that, for the first time, the Department of the Interior will host a recreation advisory committee dedicated to looking at public-private partnerships across all public lands, with the goal of expanding access to and improving the infrastructure on public lands,” Zinke said to the gathered media.
"I am very pleased to see that Secretary Zinke is enthusiastic about the opportunity to enhance recreation on public lands through public-private partnerships. MRAA and the rest of the ORIR are eager to work with the department on identifying innovative and sustainable ways to improve recreational boating and the American recreation experience as a whole," said William Higgins, MRAA Public Policy Manager.
The ORIR, of which MRAA is an active member, is a coalition of America’s leading outdoor recreation trade associations working to promote the policy and legislative reforms needed to grow the outdoor recreation economy. Roundtable members represent the thousands of U.S. businesses that produce vehicles, equipment, gear, apparel and services for the millions of Americans who enjoy our nation’s parks, waterways, byways, trails and outdoor spaces.