Policy Blog: A Whirlwind of Good News in Western Legislatures

Bills to create offices of outdoor recreation passed out of committee in Oregon and California without a single vote in opposition.

By Cailin O'Brien-Feeney April 6, 2017

It’s been a whirlwind week of progress in western state legislatures with big progress on OIA priorities in California and Oregon.

 Bills to create offices of outdoor recreation passed out of committee in both states without a single vote in opposition. We’ve been laying the groundwork on these initiatives for some time, and the recent outpouring of support by members, partners and outdoor industry champions in these state legislatures is a welcome sign of progress.

 In Oregon, HB 3350 would create an Office of Outdoor Recreation in Oregon state parks to elevate the importance of outdoor recreation through partnerships, improved data and policy, investments in outdoor infrastructure and generally serving as a “hub” for our industry. OIA, Mazamas, REI and KEEN testified in support during a hearing in the House Economic Development and Trade Committee in Salem on Monday. Dozens of additional outdoor industry brands and partners in the outdoor world submitted a letter of support last week.

 In California, AB 907 would create an Office of Outdoor Recreation and Public Lands Enhancement with a goal of supporting the outdoor industry, improving outdoor recreation policy and increasing outdoor participation. Leaders from HydraPak, Marmot, REI and Tahoe Mountain Sports testified in support during a hearing in Water, Parks and Wildlife Assembly Committee in Sacramento on Tuesday. About 50 businesses and organizations in the outdoor world submitted a letter of support in California as well.

 While both these bills have received unanimous support so far, their paths to becoming laws are far from over. Continued advocacy will be required to ensure these efforts move through the appropriations process. OIA and our members have a key role to play, and are planning additional activities in these state capitols in early May.

 Huge kudos are due to all those who’ve led the way thus far – others are welcome to join in efforts to have Oregon and California join the ranks of other states that currently employ outdoor sector leads within state governments.

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