Government Affairs Policy Agenda
Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the national trade association for the $887 billion outdoor recreation industry. We pursue this mission through a focus on increasing outdoor participation, advancing sustainable business practices and shaping public policy: for funding and access to outdoor recreation, lower business costs, predictability and stability in global supply chains, risk mitigation and the integrity of our members’ brands.
As the industry’s premier trade association, OIA advocates for your business in Washington, D.C., and in a growing number of states and communities across the country. We do this work both with and on behalf of our members; outdoor industry professional—our members—are the true champions in our advocacy work.
OIA will seek to promote a culture of collaboration in its policy work, and seek to convene and work through coalitions of interest groups and stakeholders where possible.
To that end, OIA government affairs will focus on the following priorities:
State & Local Engagement
- Educate state and local policymakers about the power of the outdoor recreation economy in their communities and promote local investment in the outdoor recreation industry.
- Grow funding and access for close-to-home outdoor recreation through local ballot initiatives and state-level advocacy initiatives.
- Build and support coalitions of industry professionals, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and other stakeholders to effectively advocate for outdoor recreation at the state and local levels.
- Plan and deliver a series of educational modules and tools that highlight examples of close-to-home recreation, advance policy goals and train OIA members to effectively engage their local officials.
- Validate, support or provide resources to state and local planning efforts.
- Work to see two additional states establish outdoor industry leadership positions within state government, following the lead of Colorado, Utah and Washington.
Federal Recreation and Public Lands
- Educate members of Congress and the new administration about the substantial economic contributions the outdoor industry makes to the U.S. economy every year.
- Defend laws that are foundational to the outdoor industry, like the Antiquities Act and Wilderness Act, and ensure that established land designations and protections for recreation assets on America’s public lands are not harmed.
- Defend the rules, policies and planning processes that guide how our public lands are stewarded.
- Guard against laws and policies that would enable the transfer of our national public lands to the states, and work to keep public lands public by working with Congress and the administration on innovative tools and policies that will protect landscapes for their recreation values.
- Seek long-term reauthorization and full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, our nation’s premier conservation program.
- Ensure that outdoor recreation infrastructure—g., campgrounds, backcountry roads, trails and access points—is recognized as part of our nation’s infrastructure, and work to secure its inclusion in corresponding legislation.
- Collaborate with the Bureau of Economic Analysis and federal agencies on the federal government’s analysis of the outdoor recreation economy.
- Advance the Personal Health Investment Today Act (PHIT), which allows consumers to use pre-tax dollars for healthy outdoor pursuits.
- Seek opportunities to advance funding for and research on the health and wellness benefits of outdoor recreation.
- Advance a wildfire suppression budget fix that avoids cutting into recreation funding in years of severe wildfire.
- Advance permitting legislation and other recreation-related bills as part of a larger recreation package.
- Validate, support or provide resources to federal planning
- Support federal tariff reform and specific initiatives that relieve outdoor businesses of the disproportionately high and unnecessary import taxes that stifle innovation, suppress employment expansion and artificially inflate retail prices on outdoor products.
- Educate the industry about and promote supply chain and global sourcing trends that support predictability, facilitate speed to market and minimize unnecessary disruptions.
- Support policies that promote a fair and balanced retail environment, regardless of retail channel.
- Support outdoor businesses that manufacture their products in the United States, serve as convener of information sharing and educate outdoor industry executives about policies that promote access to foreign markets and a level playing field in a global economy.
- Support policies that promote and incentivize sustainable outdoor products and supply chains.
- Engage outdoor industry companies to be leading voices on climate change issues and to advocate for pro-business solutions.
- Encourage national, regional and local leaders to incentivize meaningful climate mitigation strategies that protect and utilize America’s public lands and waters, including the recreational opportunities and American jobs they support.
- In collaboration with OIA’s sustainable business innovation department, assist outdoor industry businesses and their local communities in addressing climate change in their operations and business practices, including adopting industry tools such as the Higg index, accelerating the integration of alternative energy and giving preference to vendors, service providers and production facilities—both foreign and domestic—that incorporate industry best practices into their operations.
- Monitor, educate and alert the outdoor industry about regulatory and product safety compliance issues that may impact business, while continuing to protect customers at the federal and state levels.
- Engage industry leaders, nongovernmental organizations, policymakers and other stakeholders to develop and disseminate best practices across the outdoor industry.
- Bring the outdoor industry’s voice into the conversation around regulatory issues that may threaten outdoor businesses, such as Proposition 65.
- Convene and engage the industry to discuss and act on regulatory issues that impact their businesses and develop appropriate, science-based solutions.
“The Outdoor Recreation Economy Report” is a survey of the economic benefits of the outdoor recreation industry, including both outdoor product sales and associated travel and tourism spending. First released over a decade ago, this tool has been OIA’s most effective, visible and durable research report leading to a fundamental shift in how our industry’s policy issues are perceived and addressed in Washington, D.C., and in capitals across the nation.
OIA released an updated report in 2017 that further demonstrates the breadth and the sustained economic contribution of the outdoor industry. This updated version includes national, state and congressional district information on consumer spending, direct employment, wages and tax revenue. OIA and our members will use this tool to elevate our standing as a critical American industry and to advocate on the policy priorities to help us thrive.
Outdoor Industry Association Political Action Committee (OIAPAC)
Like most industries that are active in state and federal policy, the outdoor industry utilizes a nonpartisan political action committee to support policymakers and candidates for office who demonstrate their commitment to the outdoor industry by sponsoring legislation and who regularly consult with industry executives or advance industry-friendly policy proposals.
Contributions to OIAPAC are distributed to candidates after receiving substantial input from donors, a thorough and careful review by OIA staff and approval from an oversight board of industry executives. OIAPAC is one of the most powerful tools the outdoor industry has to support and promote our policies at home and in Washington, D.C. In 2017, OIAPAC will build on our recent success to ensure outdoor industry issues receive due support in the next election cycle.