Outdoor Industry Association Statement on Secretarial Order Ensuring Recreational Opportunities
Access to recreational opportunities will now be ensured on lands and waters managed by Department of the Interior (DOI) thanks in part to the efforts of Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) to share data on the outdoor recreation economy with the Secretary’s office. As the trade association for the outdoor industry, OIA strives to meet with all decision makers who impact public lands policy, and Department of the Interior controls the vast majority of public land in the country. OIA met with Secretary Zinke yesterday during our annual Capitol Summit and discussed outdoor recreation’s contribution of $887 billion to the U.S. economy and the 7.6 million jobs it generates. The new focus on recreation was initialized yesterday when the Secretary of the Interior signed a Secretarial Order directing certain Bureaus to create a plan and designate staff to oversee recreational opportunities and implementation.
“Outdoor recreation is a growing sector of our economy, contributing more than two percent to the nation’s GDP and generating $887 billion in consumer spending,” said Amy Roberts, executive director of Outdoor Industry Association. “We appreciate the emphasis of recreation within the Department of the Interior’s bureaus and look forward to helping shape how the order is implemented to ensure outdoor industry voices are included in decisions going forward.”
Specifically, the Secretarial Order (NO. 3366) requires Bureau of Land Management, Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Reclamation to create a plan that develops, or increases and expands, existing recreational opportunities. It also directs the heads of those bureaus to designate one full-time employee to oversee recreational opportunities and implementation of the Order.
The bureaus now have 90 days to develop a report that includes the following:
- Recommendations for developing new and/or increasing and expanding existing recreational opportunities including camping, hiking, horseback riding, boating, rafting, mountain biking, off-road vehicle driving, birding, wildlife viewing, etc.
- Recommendations for streamlining and improving the permitting process for guides and outfitters and facilitated outdoor recreation providers, as well as the contracting process for concessioners on lands and waters managed by the Department
- Identifications of DOI managed lands and waters where access for recreation is limited, including areas that may be impractical or impossible to access via public roads or trails under current conditions, and recommendations for providing greater access to these areas.
OIA will continue to work with DOI and the heads of the land and water agencies as the reports are developed and will provide additional recommendations and input as the final plans are implemented in order to ensure recreational access is appropriately incorporated and the public’s lands remain public.