Letter to Congress Outlines Steps to Encourage Economic Recovery and Help Americans Thrive Outside
BOULDER, Colo. – May 11, 2020 – Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and over 60 industry companies today sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to consider the critical role of America’s public lands and outdoor recreation in upcoming legislative proposals to aid the nation’s economic recovery. Specifically, the letter outlines policies that would aid the recovery of the outdoor recreation economy, which supports 7.6 million jobs, thousands of local businesses and an essential economic force representing 2.2 percent of the nation’s GDP.
“The outdoor recreation economy is a force, connecting people to the outdoors and providing jobs in all 50 states. We are doing everything we can to support people across our country who are increasingly turning to the outdoors to support their physical health and mental wellbeing, but we cannot fully recover without help from Congress,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director of Outdoor Industry Association. “Behind the millions of jobs and billions in tax revenue created by the outdoor recreation industry are businesses small and large and their employees, local communities and families that depend on a strong network of public lands. Federal investment in recreation infrastructure is needed now to ensure families, businesses and the great outdoors can all thrive.”
In the letter sent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the outdoor industry leaders wrote, “As we look to recovery in the months ahead, more needs to be done to help our communities and the outdoor industry recover from the current economic shock through investments in recreation infrastructure which will provide more opportunities for all Americans to get outside. The last few weeks have shown that millions of Americans depend upon outdoor recreation opportunities for health and wellness. Now more than ever, we need the mental and physical health benefits that getting outside can provide. Investing in outdoor infrastructure as part of our economic recovery efforts will provide a powerful return for all Americans.”
Specifically, the letter urges Congress to do the following:
- Pass the Great American Outdoors Act, bipartisan legislation which will strengthen local economies by providing permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and funding for the maintenance backlog across federal public lands
- Streamline permitting, as included in the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act (H.R. 787/S. 1665) and the Recreation Not Red-Tape Act (H.R. 3458/S. 1967), to help reignite local tourism by removing the red tape faced by guided adventure companies and outfitters
- Prioritize active transportationfunding, such as the Transportation Alternatives Program and the Recreational Trails Program, to provide people with safe, environmentally sensitive and low-cost forms of transportation and recreation
- Increase funding and expand the Civilian Conservation Corps to address rising unemployment while restoring and stewarding our public lands
- Provide funding to states and local municipalities for building parks, trails and other outdoor recreation amenities in underserved and under-resourced communities to address the need for ongoing public local services amidst significantly declining state and local tax revenues
- Prioritize policies to reduce carbon emissions in any transportation, energy and infrastructure provisions to help mitigate the worst impacts of future natural disasters and protect places to recreate for future generations
More details about these provisions are outlined in the letter.
About the Outdoor Industry Association
Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry. OIA unites and serves 1300 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.