President Obama signed the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2016 into law on Thursday.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association is praising the move, calling the bill “critical” and saying it quantifies the true size of the outdoor economy, including recreational boating.
Better known as the REC Act, it will instruct the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis to assess and analyze the U.S. outdoor recreation economy and its effects on the nation’s overall economy.
“NMMA celebrates the passage of the REC Act … which ensures boating and outdoor recreation access for generations to come by highlighting the economic value of recreation, an industry that supports an estimated 6 million jobs and $646 billion in economic activity,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement.
“We’re excited to be a part of the team that will work with the Bureau of Economic Analysis to shape how outdoor recreation is defined and ensure the boating and outdoor recreation industries’ economic reach are recognized.”
The new law directs the Secretary of Commerce, through the Bureau of Economic Analysis, to “conduct an assessment and analysis of the outdoor recreation economy of the United States.”
The Secretary of the Interior enacted a temporary pilot program in April. The NMMA said passage of the REC Act was needed to make sure the outdoor economy receives official government recognition for years to come.