The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) Board of Directors today (Dec. 19) announced the appointment of Jessica Wahl as executive director following an extensive national search. Jessica brings a decade of experience navigating the halls of The White House, Department of the Interior (DOI), Capitol Hill, state recreation offices and outdoor lifestyle businesses.
“Jessica is the ideal person to take on the new role of executive director at the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable,” said Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association and chairman of the board for ORR. “Her demonstrated leadership in raising the profile of the Outdoor Recreation Economy combined with her proven skills in championing meaningful policy changes that positively impact the entire outdoor recreation community make Jess the perfect choice. She is a passionate advocate for outdoor recreation, a tireless convener and results-oriented change agent.”
“I am honored to be chosen as the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable’s executive director,” said Wahl. “I have always had a deep personal connection to the great outdoors and have spent my career working to connect more people to these special places. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with America’s leading outdoor recreation organizations to grow the outdoor recreation economy that impacts so many livelihoods and communities. By creating a shared national vision for outdoor recreation, we can improve access to our parks, trails, campgrounds and waters, and ensure a better quality of life for all Americans.”
Prior to the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, Wahl directed the Outdoor Industry Association’s outdoor recreation portfolio in Washington D.C. where she successfully gained landmark government recognition of outdoor recreation’s contribution to the national Gross Domestic Product. In 2018, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that outdoor recreation makes up 2.2% of the nation’s GDP and is one of America’s leading industry sectors.
Wahl is also the cofounder and past chair of the Coalition for Outdoor Access working to reform outfitter and guide permitting systems within federal land agencies, an effort designed to help more Americans gain access to the outdoors. Before OIA, Wahl worked at DOI in the Office of the Interior Secretary where she managed first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Outside! and Let’s Move! in Indian Country initiatives. She has received a Master of Arts in American Government from Georgetown University.
“Jessica Wahl is an inspired choice for the new executive director role,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the RV Industry Association, who as vice chair of ORR led the executive search committee. “Already one of the most respected new voices for outdoor recreation in America, I’m confident that she will raise the political stature and effectiveness of our coalition and bring ORR to new heights.”
“Jessica understands the importance of bringing all facets of outdoor recreation together to advance ORR’s goals,” said RV Dealers Association President Phil Ingrassia. “Her skillset and experience will help the organization expand its work to promote and protect the business of outdoor recreation in the U.S.”
Wahl joins ORR on Jan. 7 and will succeed Derrick Crandall, the long-time president of American Recreation Coalition (ARC) and current ORR president.
Since the April 2018 announcement of the merger between ARC and the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable that formed ORR, Crandall has led the successful integration of the two entities. After a short leadership transition, Crandall will step down from ORR but continue to consult on ORR’s Partners Outdoors and Great Outdoors Month programs as well as continue his distinguished career as the ORR board representative for the National Park Hospitality Association.