Outdoor Recreation Roundtable Outlines Priorities with Industry Leaders

Congressional and administration officials joined recreation industry leaders last Thursday to mark the formal launch of the nation’s coalition of outdoor recreation trade associations, the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR). The event provided a platform for the group to officially outline its priorities as it works to educate decision makers on Capitol Hill about the importance of the outdoor recreation economy and ensure our nation’s public lands and waters remain accessible for outdoor enthusiasts.

The Capitol Hill reception brought together a bipartisan group of lawmakers and staff, including seven Members of Congress, committed to enhancing America’s great outdoors and increasing public accessibility through common-sense policy solutions, according to ORR.

Earlier in the day, outdoor recreation leaders met with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to discuss the role of the department’s new Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee, which will serve as a collaborative panel to facilitate public-private partnerships that improve public lands and waters. Discussions with the secretary also included ways that the Interior Department, which manages more than 25 percent of the American landscape, can elevate outdoor recreation as a federal priority.

“It was a landmark day for the outdoor recreation industry in the United States,” said Thom Dammrich, ORR chair and president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “From boating and fishing to camping and hiking, we are united in working toward a shared goal of making outdoor recreation a national priority. Our public lands and waters are vital to our daily lives as Americans as well as to our larger economy. As outdoor enthusiasts and organizations that represent millions of workers across the country, together, we can ensure outdoor recreation remains a treasured pastime and economic driver.”

With attendance on public lands and waters dwindling and facilities aging, ORR aims to ensure an attractive and enjoyable experience for visitors. From Wi-Fi availability to refurbished marinas, infrastructure upgrades must be a priority according to the group.

“Due to the maintenance backlog and budget shortfall facing the National Park System, private partnerships and funding can make these much-needed upgrades a reality,” ORR stated in a news release. “What’s more, adequate access for outdoor recreation on our public lands and waters deserves attention. In this arena, ORR’s priorities range from revamping the permitting process, so it runs more efficiently, reducing permitting periods from what can often take years, to ensuring land and water management decisions fully balance conservation and access so outdoor enthusiasts aren’t wrongfully restricted from experiencing public spaces.”

During the bipartisan congressional reception at the Rayburn House Office Building, ORR emphasized the importance of the outdoor recreation industry to the U.S. economy. The launch also included the unveiling of a new website, which will serve as a resource to learn more about the industry’s economic impact, the coalition’s membership and the latest outdoor recreation news from across the country.

ORR’s policy agenda includes several key pillars that will improve the outdoor recreation economy and enhance America’s public lands and waters for generations. The agenda includes fostering collaboration between the outdoor recreation industry and federal policy makers; removing barriers that prevent improvement and maintenance of public lands through public-private partnerships; prioritizing accessibility of public lands so that more Americans can enjoy the great outdoors; advancing balanced policies that conserve public lands and waterways so that they can be accessed and enjoyed today and by future generations of Americans; and ensuring that the outdoor recreation economy is recognized by policymakers for its importance to the health of the overall economy.

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