We Got Another One! North Carolina Establishes Office of Outdoor Recreation

In what is becoming an exciting and growing trend across the country, North Carolina is establishing an Outdoor Recreation Recruitment Director within the state’s Commerce Department to promote North Carolina's outdoor recreation economy and to assist in the recruitment of new businesses to the state.

By Cailin O'Brien-Feeney June 22, 2017

North Carolina’s Outdoor Recreation Economy generates $19.2 billion in consumer spending and supports 192,000 jobs according to the 2012 Outdoor Recreation Economy Report. Updated statistics will be unveiled on Wednesday, July 26, at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market.

The new position which is similar to those in Utah, Colorado and Washington, is funded in the state budget beginning in January 2018, and follows last week’s announcement that Vermont’s Governor Phil Scott is establishing the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Collaborative (VOREC) to grow the Green Mountain State’s outdoor recreation economy.

“It is exciting to see another state, especially in the eastern United States, establish a funded position to promote and grow the local recreation economy,” said Cailin O’Brien-Feeney, OIA’s State and Local Policy Manager. “A lot of credit goes to the outdoor industry leaders in North Carolina for their tireless and unwavering drive to get this position established and funded. We hope to see others build on their example.”

Leading the effort was Ross Saldarini, President of Mountain Khakis; Tom Dempsey, President of Sylvan Sport;  Will Morgan & John Hardin of Manning Fulton & Skinner; Noah Wilson, Director of Outdoor Gear Builders of Western North Carolina; and Bruce Nofsinger, Owner of Topics Education. They worked closely with Senator Rick Gunn, who championed the effort in the North Carolina legislature.

“This was truly a team effort,” said Saldarini. “We are thrilled to see the hard work pay off, and now we start on the next phase of the campaign, to get more outdoor businesses here in North Carolina and to grow the massive outdoor recreation economy.”