Trade Resources Industry Views Feds to Include Outdoor Rec Economy

Feds to Include Outdoor Rec Economy

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced the federal government will begin measuring and quantifying the ecoomic impact of the outdoor recreation economy when calculating gross domestic product.

Jewell, who served as CEO for REI before being appointed Secretary of the Interior, made the announcement during an event held at National Geographic headquarters.

"This is the first time the federal government will be quantifying the outdoor recreation sector in its jobs and economic impact report, and that’s an incredible win for our industry," said Amy Roberts, executive director for Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) 

Currently, the U.S. government counts other sectors -- like oil and gas, ranching, manufacturing, travel and tourism and the arts - but until today's announcement, it had yet to include outdoor recreation as a part of Gross Domestic Product reports. OIA, however, has been quantifying the impact of the outdoor recreation industry on jobs, wages, taxes and spending in the United States for over a decade with the Outdoor Recreation Economy report and encouraging the administration and Congress to do the same.

"We know from OIA’s economic report that the outdoor industry is a massive economic engine for the U.S. economy and economies in all 50 states," said Roberts.  "Today’s announcement by Secretary Jewell that the federal government will begin measuring and reporting outdoor recreation economy statistics is a step forward for our industry. Including outdoor recreation as part of U.S. GDP shows that leaders in Washington, D.C., agree that investing in outdoor recreation is an investment in America’s healthy communities and healthy economies. Our hope is that these numbers will be used by policymakers at the federal, state and local levels to invest in recreation infrastructure."

OIA will continue to release its economic report, with an updated version coming out in 2017.

Jewell announced the Department of Interior had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Commerce to create a national Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) and said she had secured initial funding for the work.

Roberts said the announcement demonstrates "the federal government clearly understands that the outdoor industry and the outdoor recreation economy are not simply 'nice to haves,' but are 'must haves' to support healthy communities and healthy economies across the United States."

Today's announcement also adds urgency to legislation pending in Congress that would make ORSA permanent. The Recreation’s Economic Contributions Act in the Senate and the Outdoor "REC" Act in the House were introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Peter Welch (D-VT) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), respectively. This bipartisan legislation is the central focus of next week's OIA Capitol Summit, and passage of it is one of our highest priorities this year.

OIA asks those who support the REC Act do one of the following:

Thank Secretary Jewell and the Obama Administration for counting our jobs on social media.Look up your members of Congress and encourage them become cosponsors of the REC Act.Sign on to the OIA support letter with many other recreation businesses and organizations. 

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