BOULDER, Colo., October 30, 2019 – Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) touted the power of the outdoor recreation economy and the potential for immense growth in the industry through a focused investment on policies that will drive increased participation rates during a hearing of the Committee on Small Business titled “Force of Nature: The Power of Small Businesses in America’s Recreational Infrastructure. OIA thanked Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY-07) and Ranking Member Chabot (R-OH-01) for holding the hearing, and OIA also supported Lindsey Davis, CEO of Wylder Goods, Co., who testified at the hearing and thanked the committee for its focus on the need for more attention and investment into outdoor recreation as an extremely impactful sector of the U.S. economy.
“Today’s hearing validates the outsized impact that the outdoor industry has on the U.S. economy. Incredibly,146 million Americans participate in at least one outdoor activity per year, generating over $887 billion in consumer spending and making up 2.2 percent of U.S. gross domestic product – but that’s only half of the story,” said Patricia Rojas-Ungar, vice president of government affairs for OIA. “Our research also shows that 50 percent of Americans fail to spend even one day a year participating in outdoor recreation. We see filling this gap as a key priority that will not only result in immense economic growth but also deliver a multitude of benefits to our nation. We look forward to working with Congress to pass legislation that removes barriers to Americans getting outside while also investing in the outdoor recreation economy. OIA hopes this hearing is the beginning of a concerted and united effort to achieve these goals.”
TESTIMONY FOR THE RECORD: PATRICIA ROJAS-UNGAR VICE PRESIDENT, GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS, OUTDOOR INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION ON “FORCE OF NATURE: THE POWER OF SMALL BUSINESSES IN AMERICA’S RECREATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE”
“With more than 146 million Americans across the nation—nearly half of the U.S. population—participating each year in activities such as hiking, fishing, skiing, rafting, and biking, outdoor recreation is among the largest and fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. economy,” said Chairwoman Velázquez. “This industry is fueled by small businesses and creates jobs in communities across the country; it’s up to us in Congress to support these small firms. This responsibility includes making sure that public lands are healthy and air and water are clean. Without this basic infrastructure, the outdoor recreation industry cannot thrive.”
“Our industry continues to grow as more and more Americans participate in outdoor recreation, but as with any industry, we need to continually invest in our foundational product – in our case the outdoors themselves – in order to continue to grow and prosper,” said outdoor industry leader Lindsey Davis, CEO of Wylder Goods, Co. “We, as outdoor industry small businesses, can and will take things into our own hands to improve the ecosystem health, access and infrastructure, but we cannot do it alone and are looking to Congress as a partner to solve these issues at the very foundation of our growing sector.”
OIA, with its members and other similarly aligned organizations, will continue to work with Congress to put a spotlight on the outdoor industry and, more importantly, on legislation aimed at getting more Americans outside and growing the outdoor recreation economy and, as a result, the U.S. economy as a whole.
Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA unites and serves over 1,300 manufacturer, supplier, sales representative and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business innovation and outdoor participation. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org.