Policy Blog: Senate and House Outdoor Recreation Caucuses Announced

April 20, 2017

We are pleased to let you know that for the first time ever, the United States Congress now has a bicameral, bipartisan caucus dedicated to the outdoor recreation industry. In the past few weeks, the Senate Outdoor Recreation Caucus (SORC) was established by Co-Chairs Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) and Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and for the first time, a House Outdoor Recreation Caucus (HORC) has been established by Co-Chairs Representative Mike Simpson (R-ID02) and Representative Jared Polis (D-CO02).
“The House and Senate Outdoor Recreation Caucuses will provide a critical forum to highlight the growing impact of the outdoor recreation economy and how outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes can come together to support healthy communities and healthy economies,” said OIA’s Executive Director Amy Roberts. “As we work to preserve our public lands and waters as the backbone of outdoor recreation businesses and support the growth and success of manufacturers, retailers and outfitters, I know we can count on the leadership and support of Representatives Simpson and Polis and Senators Risch and Heinrich.”
Both the House and Senate Outdoor Recreation Caucus are a forum for members to support the outdoor recreation sector and industry businesses of all types, while encouraging Americans to engage in, understand and reap the benefits of outdoor recreation. The Outdoor Recreation Caucus provides elected officials and their staffs the opportunity for bipartisan dialogue about the programs and policies that support America’s massive outdoor recreation economy (new economic data will be released next Tuesday).
Outdoor Recreation Caucus Principles:

  • Agreement that outdoor recreation plays a critical role in supporting healthy people, healthy communities and healthy economies.
  • Understanding of the importance of the outdoor recreation economy and the need to continue to quantify its benefits as a job creator and local and national economic driver.
  • Appreciation of America’s lands and waters as the infrastructure and backbone for outdoor recreation businesses.
  • Support for the growth and success of manufacturers, retailers and outfitters that enhance the outdoor experience.

“Outdoor recreation is a way of life in Idaho, but now we also know what a powerful economic force it is across the nation,” said Senator Jim Risch, co-chair of the Senate Outdoor Recreation Caucus. “That is why I am proud to lead the Senate Outdoor Recreation Caucus in the 115th Congress. Together, we will support the outdoor recreation economy and policies that promote its growth.”
“I’m proud to co-chair the Senate Outdoor Recreation Caucus to show that conservation and growing the outdoor recreation economy are inextricably linked,” said U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), co-chair of the Senate Outdoor Recreation Caucus. “New Mexicans’ livelihoods are rooted in our open spaces. Our public lands are where locals and visitors alike go to find the biggest elk, the best camping spot, challenging single track or the most remote fishing hole. Outdoor traditions both new and old are not only part of a healthy lifestyle but also fuel our local economy and create much needed jobs–especially in rural communities. I remain deeply committed to standing with New Mexicans and all Americans to protect our public lands, watersheds and wildlife for our children and all future generations to enjoy.”
“For many years, I’ve worked to protect the land and water for the benefit of Idahoans now and for years to come,” said Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID02). “We are seeing now more than ever the importance of wild places, rivers, ski resorts, trails and greenspaces in recruiting and retaining businesses and a skilled workforce. I’m proud to be establishing the first-ever House Outdoor Recreation Caucus to help educate members of Congress on the economic value of recreation on our trails and greenspaces in Idaho and throughout the nation.”

“Outdoor recreation is a critical and vibrant facet to our nation’s economy and lifestyle,” Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO02) said. “The House Outdoor Recreation Caucus will advance an understanding of the benefits of outdoor recreation and the substantial economic activity that comes with it, which can be seen in every state and district across the country. As a representative from Colorado, where the outdoor industry is so prominent, I am proud to be a co-chair of the House Outdoor Recreation Caucus, and I look forward to finding commonsense solutions to protect and expand this industry. Discovering new ways to protect our lands and make it easier for everyone to access our outdoor activities while growing our economy has always been, and will remain, a top priority of mine.”
Please thank @SenatorRisch, @MartinHeinrich, @CongMikeSimpson and @JaredPolis for their leadership and encourage your members of Congress to sign on by sharing these “Dear Colleague” letters. 

Senate Dear Colleague letter & House Dear Colleague letter