As Americans continue to suffer from COVID-19 and wrestle with ways to create jobs and improve health outcomes in their communities, outdoor recreation is well-positioned to play a prominent role in the economic, mental and physical recovery of the nation, according to a press release announcing a White Paper produced by the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR).

“The growing outdoor recreation industry is eager to partner with the incoming Biden Administration to “Build Back Better” through a focus on the outdoors. We hope to support national discussions around the critical importance of our economic sector that creates jobs, builds healthy communities, strengthens the health and well-being of Americans and of our public lands and waters for all to benefit from outdoor recreation is a major economic engine in America that was growing faster than the economy as a whole prior to the pandemic, holding up jobs and local communities during this recession,” the release states.

“We comprise 2.1% of GDP, account for 3.3% of U.S. employees, and support 5.2 million jobs — many of which are in rural communities. We contribute $788 billion in economic output, which surpasses other sectors such as utilities, mining, agriculture and chemical products manufacturing. Our industry is an economic multiplier that attracts new businesses, recruits and retains employees, and improves quality of life by supporting rural economies, connecting urban populations with our shared natural resources and helping people build healthy lifestyles,” according to the release.

ORR — the nation’s leading coalition of outdoor recreation trade associations made up of 33 national members and serving 110,000 businesses — proposes an agenda that will improve equitable recreation access to public lands and waters across the nation.

By investing in recreation infrastructure and access, the recreation industry can sustainably meet the increasing demand for time spent outdoors, create jobs supporting diverse communities, and grow economies in every corner of the country while upholding sound conservation policies that will sustain recreation resources for long-term economic growth and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

In order for the outdoor recreation sector to do what it does best — build healthy communities and economies, create jobs, and contribute to a healthy planet — the ORR recommends these immediate actions for the Biden Administration’s first 100 days:

  • Re-establish the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation, or a similar network, with a White House lead to ensure efficiencies and coordination to support outdoor recreation across federal agencies.
  • Convene the Outdoor CEO Roundtable to engage the largest cross-sector outdoor businesses at a White House meeting around jobs, diversity, climate and the economy.
  • Remove Trump Administration tariffs on outdoor goods and products to immediately jumpstart American jobs and innovation in this growing and sustainable sector.

ORR has outlined recommendations in line with the Biden Administration’s four pillars  – economic recovery, COVID 19, racial equality and climate change – that will create thriving, sustainable rural communities, support the transition to cleaner and greener economies through a growing and inclusive workforce, and ensure access to our local and national outdoor treasures for generations to come.

See the entire White Paper here.