ORIR Holds Capitol Hill Briefings on Growing the Outdoor Recreation Economy
(Washington, D.C.)– Outdoor recreation took center stage on Capitol Hill March 7, when the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable (ORIR) held briefings for staffers from both the U.S. House of Representatives and the United States Senate, introducing the newly formed organization itself and detailing the tremendous economic impact of outdoor recreation within the United States.
ORIR representatives reported that outdoor recreation generates $646 billion in direct economic spending and supports some 6.1 million jobs in the U.S. And they explained that there are great opportunities to increase that impact in the future by expanding access to healthy, active fun outdoors on America’s public lands and waters. They also briefed Congressional staffers about ORIR’s key goals, which include:
- fast tracking the implementation of the recently enacted Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact (REC) Act;
- prioritizing recreation-related infrastructure improvements in federal agency budgets;
- establishing more public-private partnerships to address maintenance backlogs on public lands;
- achieving better balance between recreation and conservation in federal agency decisions; and
- developing and deploying a digital information strategy for outdoor recreation on federal lands.
“There are approximately 3.9 million horses used for recreational riding, and the recreational riding sector generates $32 billion in economic impact,” said AHC President Julie Broadway. “We feel it is important for the AHC to be involved with the ORIR in order to ensure that an important part of the recreation segment is not overlooked, and they have the ability to continue to use the trails and public lands they love with their horses.”
“Sharing ideas about policy and regulatory reforms is more than necessary now than ever to ensure the recreation industry continues to grow,” said Ben Pendergrass, AHC’s Senior Vice President of Policy and Legislative Affairs. “Getting the National Forest Service Trail Stewardship Act passed last year was just the start of getting members of Congress to realize how important it is for recreational riders to be able to have access to trails.”
The ORIR also delivered another key message: tight federal budgets should not be allowed to reduce access to public lands and waters or diminish the quality of outdoor recreation experiences. Solutions to budget-related challenges involving partnerships and private investment have long been a tradition on the nation’s public lands and need to be embraced.
The well-attended briefings opened doors to improved communication and partnerships between ORIR and Congressional offices that will continue to raise Congressional awareness of the importance of outdoor recreation and encourage actions to improve recreational opportunities on America’s public lands and waters.
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