U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced the members of the “Made in America” Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee.
The Committee, established Nov. 8, is intended to serve as an advisory board to the secretary on public-private partnerships across all public lands, with the goal of expanding access to and improving infrastructure on public lands and waterways.
The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable welcomed the U.S. Department of the Interior’s announcement of the members of the newly-established Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee.
The formation of the committee came after the department heard calls from a wide sampling of outdoor recreation groups and advocates seeking a more formal voice on issues affecting the future of outdoor recreation in the United States.
ORR member organizations, including the NMMA, will provide the committee their ideas and experience to help achieve the best outcomes for the nation’s tens of millions of outdoor recreation enthusiasts.
“With a $673 billion annual economic output, the outdoor recreation industry has an important voice in the policy discussions about the future of America’s public lands and waters,” said Thom Dammrich, ORR chair and president of NMMA, in a statement.
Several ORR members are represented on the committee, along with ORR president Derrick Crandall.
Committee members including Bass Pro Shops founder and CEO Johnny Morris, American Fly Fishing Trade Association president and CEO Benjamin Bulis, Shimano American Corp. and Shimano Canada Ltd. government affairs and advocacy vice president Phil Morlock, Yamaha Motor Corp. USA government relations manager Bradley Franklin, and Simms Fishing Products executive chairman K.C. Walsh.
“We want our leaders to advance policies that will improve the experience of Americans as they enjoy the great outdoors and conserve public resources for future generations. Today is an important step towards meeting those goals, and we appreciate the Interior Department for formalizing this Committee,” Dammrich said. “And ORR wants to reassure all recreation interests that whether they are directly represented on the committee or not, ORR will work tirelessly to give all recreation interests access to and a strong voice with the committee and the administration.”
“The Made in America Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee is made up of the private sector’s best and brightest to tackle some of our biggest public lands infrastructure and access challenges,” said Zinke in a statement.
“Dating back to the early days of the National Park Service, American businesses have been helping improve the public's public land experience by doing everything from building iconic lodges like the Grand Canyon's El Tovar to the historic ‘red jammers’ in Glacier National Park,” Zinke said.
“This committee will help build on that legacy and provide valuable insight into addressing the maintenance backlog on our public lands,” said Zinke. “The committee’s collective experience as entrepreneurs and business leaders provide unique insight that is often lost in the federal government. As we rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, we can continue the exponential growth of the American recreation sector, which supports millions of American jobs and bares a significant impact on our economy.”
In early 2018, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis — the government agency responsible for reporting U.S. GDP — included the outdoor recreation industry in its calculations for the first time.
The BEA found that the outdoor recreation industry makes up 2 percent of U.S. GDP, surpassing other sectors such as agriculture, petroleum and coal, and computer and electronic products.
Today’s news is the latest sign that America’s leaders are recognizing the major footprint of the nation’s outdoor recreation economy, the NMMA said.
“Our industry is dependent on healthy public lands and waters that are responsibly maintained and upgraded,” said ORR vice chair and RV Industry Association president Frank Hugelmeyer, according to the NMMA.
“Visitors to public parks and other lands and waters too often experience worn-out facilities that are long overdue for upgrades, and they are demanding action from our federal leaders,” Hugelmeyer said. “We look forward to working with the committee members and Interior Department to find solutions that meet the needs of America’s outdoor recreation community and to educate them on the many industries that rely on America’s outdoor recreation economy.”
On April 12, ORR will unveil a new website showcasing the importance of the outdoor recreation industry to the American economy and the need for commonsense policy solutions to improve America’s public lands, the NMMA said.