Policy Blog: Is This The Most Important Piece of Outdoor Legislation in 2016?

A bill introduced to the House of Representatives last week could change the game for the outdoor industry. What you need to know, and what you can do about it.

By Jessica Wahl March 4, 2016

The Recreation’s Economic Contributions (REC) Act ensures that the outdoor recreation economy, including outdoor industry jobs and our economic impact are measured by the federal government and accounted for as part of the national Gross Domestic Product.  This breakthrough legislation has now been introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and if passed, may result in positive policy trends for our public lands and waters.

Fact: OIA’s Outdoor Recreation Economy Report demonstrates that the outdoor industry supports:

  • 6.1 million American jobs
  • $646 billion to the national economy
  • $80 billion in tax revenue
Update the full OIA Recreation Economy Report

Download the full OIA Recreation Economy Report

Fact: That’s almost as much as the pharmaceuticals and automotive industries combined.

Fact: Currently the federal government does not officially recognize or quantify that impact on the GDP or come out with our yearly jobs numbers even though they count other sectors such as business services and construction.

Therefore: The federal government does not currently use or consider outdoor product manufacturing and retail, outdoor consumer and activity spending data when making decisions that affect our businesses or the 142 million Americans who recreate outside every year.

Download the full OIA Recreation Economy Report

Download the full OIA Recreation Economy Report

And so: The following Congressional representatives have introduced the Recreation’s Economic Contributions (REC) Act, that would require the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Labor—in consultation with federal land management agencies—to officially count our industry jobs and economic contributions as part of the GDP, thus informing decisions that impact outdoor trade and recreation policy.

U.S. Representatives Don Beyer (D, VA-8), Dave Reichert (R, WA-8), Peter Welch (D, VT-AL) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R, WA-5)

Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Cory Gardner (R-CO)

What you can do:

    1. Look up your members of Congress.
    2. Email them encouraging them to join Representative Beyer, Reichert, Welch and McMorris Rodgers on the REC Act bill or Senators Shaheen and Gardner on the Senate version. Not sure what to say? This might help.
    3. Promote #CountMyJob on Twitter and Facebook
    4. Sign this OIA Support letter along with your peers in the outdoor recreation industry.
    5. Reach out to Jessica Wahl, OIA’s recreation policy advisor, with questions.
    6. Attend Capitol Summit 2016 and tell your representatives to their face: #CountMyJob.