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Interior secretary creates advisory committee on recreation

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the establishment of the “Made in America” Recreation Advisory Committee on Tuesday.

The committee, which will meet about two times annually, will advise Zinke on public-private partnerships across all public lands, with the goal of expanding access to and improving infrastructure on public lands and waterways.

“The spirit of American innovation and ingenuity is what built our country, and the Interior Department wants that same spirit and energy to resonate within the realm of outdoor recreation on our public lands,” Zinke said in a statement.

“We already have thousands of private partners who operate on federal lands,” Zinke added. “Whether it's the iconic Jammers in Glacier National Park, the historic El Tovar lodge at the Grand Canyon or the kayaks that you can rent on the Potomac River, American workers are at the heart of helping American families experience our great outdoors.”

The National Marine Manufacturers Association said the decision comes on the heels of work done by the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable, of which the NMMA is a leading member.

The NMMA said the new committee will “help improve visitor experiences through expanded public-private partnerships — something ORIR and NMMA are thrilled to see come to life.”

The NMMA said Zinke also appointed a former Navy SEAL, Capt. Rick May, as a new senior adviser focusing on outdoor recreation.

“Helping ensure our nation's public waterways and lands are not only accessible but enjoyable is a key step to ensuring Americans get outdoors,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in the NMMA’s Currents newsletter.

“NMMA applauds Secretary Zinke and his team for understanding the significant impact the recreation economy has on the entire United States and the importance of modernizing our public lands and waters and what that will mean for the American people. This is an exciting time for our industry to be collaborating with the ORIR, the Recreation Advisory Committee, and May on such a meaningful mission to help Americans discover the outdoors.," Dammrich added.

The department said committee members will be selected for their diverse backgrounds and their experiences with the recreational industry. Prospective members will have knowledge utilizing public-private partnerships, providing recreational visitor experiences, developing and deploying infrastructure improvements or a thorough understanding of recreational equipment.

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation generates $887 billion in economic impact and supports 7.6 million jobs across the country, the NMMA said.

The NMMA said the creation of the Recreation Advisory Committee and May’s appointment — combined with numerous other meetings, declarations and events — are important steps in harnessing the might of the outdoor recreation economy and show the department’s commitment to supporting its continued growth.

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