Policy Blog: The REC Act introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today

By Jessica Wahl March 2, 2016

Today, (March 2, 2016) Representatives Don Beyer (D, VA-8), Dave Reichert (R, WA-8), Peter Welch (D, VT-AL) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R, WA-5) joined Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) in support of legislation that will support the outdoor industry, quantifies the outdoor recreation economy and brings our industry one step closer to being recognized as a powerful contributor to the U.S. economy.

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

The REC Act legislation requires the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Labor, in consultation with federal land management agencies, to provide economic metrics and other statistics on our industry’s contributions to the U.S. economy. While OIA’s economic report, which quantified our $646 billion industry that employs 6.1 million Americans and contributes $80 billion to local, state and federal tax revenue will remain relevant, federal statistics in this area would provide objective, government data that may lead to greater influence over federal and local recreation policy and business decisions.

“We know through our own report, ‘The Outdoor Recreation Economy’ that the outdoor industry is a massive economic driver here in the United States and supports millions of American jobs,” said OIA Executive Director Amy Roberts. “It is extremely important, however, that the federal government recognizes and quantifies the economic importance of our industry and uses that data to inform the decisions that affect our businesses and the 142 million Americans who recreate outside each year.”

Outdoor industry businesses provide jobs and economic benefits in every state across the country, from gateway communities to urban areas in our largest cities. Access to and funding for open space and outdoor recreation not only spur consumer spending and create jobs, but they are integral to American communities’ quality of life, helping to attract skilled workers and improve public health. We look forward to working with the government to count the millions of jobs that depend on outdoor recreation in manufacturing and retailing, travel and tourism, and outdoor activities like hunting and angling, guiding and outfitting.

“Fly fishing and wingshooting are what makes Orvis special, and allows us to employ thousands of full time employees in our offices, 70 retail stores around the country, in our three manufacturing facilities making footwear and luggage in Missouri, fly rods in Vermont and fly lines in Michigan,” said Steve Hemkens, VP of Rod and Tackle and Orvis Adventures. “Given the fact that healthy ecosystems and access to our public lands are critical elements to our business success, we also firmly believe in creating stewards and advocates for healthy fish and wildlife habitats, access to our public lands, for a vision of commerce that is sustainable and will provide opportunities for future generations of outdoor enthusiasts and entrepreneurs.”

You can help support the REC Act today.

  • Look up your members of Congress and encourage them to join Representatives Beyer, Reichert, Welch and McMorris Rodgers on the REC bill.
  • Promote #CountMyJobs by using the hashtag on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Sign on to the OIA Support Letter with many other recreation businesses and organizations.