The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) hosted a reception for the 116th Congress and celebrated the monumental steps its members have already taken to grow the outdoor recreation economy and provide access to America’s great outdoors. The ORR, which MRAA is a founding member of, is America’s leading coalition of outdoor recreation trade associations and organizations working to promote the policy reforms needed to enhance the outdoor recreation economy. Combined, ORR members produce an annual $734 billion output for the U.S. economy, making up 2.2% of America’s GDP.
At the event, more than 100 recreation industry leaders applauded the bipartisan and bicameral passage of S. 47 – the Natural Resources Management Act – which delivers needed reforms that will protect public lands and waters and enhance visitor experiences in our treasured places. ORR specifically called out the importance of permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, the Every Kid Outdoors Act, the Sportsmen’s Access to Federal Land subtitle and the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act.
Representatives Don Beyer (D, VA-08), Steve Stivers (R, OH-15), Garret Graves (R, LA-06), Peter Welch (D, VT-AL), Suzanne Bonamici (D, OR-01), Bruce Westerman (R, AR-04) and John Curtis (R, UT-03) spoke to the group and were personally thanked for their wide ranging support for outdoor recreation, including providing funding for the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account, as well as securing appropriations for the first federal government study of the outdoor recreation economy at the state level. Last year, the government released national data demonstrating the importance of an outdoor recreation economy that accounts for 2.2% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product and directly supports 4.5 million jobs.
“With last night's passage of the public lands package and the inclusion of appropriations for the continued study of the outdoor recreation economy in the funding bill earlier this month, 2019 is off to a strong start for outdoor recreation,” said Jessica Wahl, Executive Director of ORR. “We would like to thank our partners in Congress for taking the initiative to promote and protect access to recreation on public lands and waters and ORR members for all the work they did to get us here today. We hope to continue this momentum with the inclusion of other recreation priorities in an infrastructure package or recreation bill in the near future.”