Do you live in a state with an already established office of outdoor recreation?
Get involved and get to know your state offices of outdoor recreation. Introduce yourself and your company to the director if you haven’t already. Click on your state to get started.
“The first thing to do is to consider these offices as a resource,” says O’Brien-Feeney. “Get to know them personally and reach out with requests. They can help you navigate government programs that might already exist relating to workforce development, grant opportunities, finding international markets for your products, and sponsoring trade missions.
“Helping companies understand what resources are available to them is a core function of these divisions. From volunteer opportunities with nonprofits that align with your companies to helping you find solutions that drive your bottom line, these departments exist to help your company succeed.”
Do you live in a state with no office of outdoor recreation at all?
The outdoor industry is coming together with a unified voice to create more of these positions. Throughout the country, outdoor-related companies in geographic proximity are banding together to make asks of their elected officials. That can be done whether or not you have a state office.
Finding peers and colleagues within the industry to help you make this ask is the first step to start building those relationships with your state and federal elected officials. Reach out to OIA, as well.
Examples of how outdoor companies are banding together with a unified voice from their region include the Oregon Outdoor Alliance, regional groups in Colorado for the Pikes Peak region and the Grand Junction area, and Maine Outdoor Brands.