Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), along with other members of the (ORIR), are applauding Tuesday’s (Nov. 7) announcement by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke establishing the “Made in America” Recreation Advisory Committee.

According to a news release, the committee will advise Sec. Zinke on public-private partnerships across all public lands, with the goal of expanding access to and improving infrastructure on public lands and waterways. The secretary has also appointed former Navy SEAL Captain Rick May as a new senior advisor, focusing on outdoor recreation.

“The spirit of American innovation and ingenuity is what built our country, and the Interior Department wants that same spirit and energy to resonate within the realm of outdoor recreation on our public lands,” said Secretary Zinke. “By forming this committee, I look forward to hearing from the best and the brightest in our private sector on how to improve the public experience on our federal lands and waters by expanding access for all Americans. We already have thousands of private partners who operate on federal lands. Whether it’s the iconic Jammers in Glacier National Park, the historic El Tovar lodge at the Grand Canyon or the kayaks that you can rent on the Potomac River, American workers are at the heart of helping American families experience our great outdoors.”

The creation of the Recreation Advisory Committee and the appointment of May – combined with many other meetings, declarations and events – are important steps Secretary Zinke has taken in harnessing the might of the $887 billion outdoor recreation economy and shows the Department’s commitment to supporting its continued growth.

“We applaud Secretary Zinke for tapping into the unrivaled know-how of outdoor recreation executives by creating the ‘Made in America’ Recreation Advisory Committee, a leadership forum dedicated to examining how public-private partnerships can expand access and improve infrastructure,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, RVIA president. “Public-private partnerships are a well-established solution that can harness the expertise and investment of the private sector to achieve the upgrades desperately needed by outdoor enthusiasts across the country.”

“America’s abundance and beauty is something to be both preserved and admired,” said Rep. Dennis A. Ross, co-chair of the House RV Caucus. “As an RV enthusiast, I have been able to experience firsthand the glorious landscape of our great nation, and am thankful for those American entrepreneurs and innovators who think of new ways to experience what our country has to offer. I hope that with their guidance, more Americans will be able to witness the vast bounty of our land, from sea to shining sea.”

“Northern Indiana is the RV Capital of the World, so Hoosiers know outdoor recreation plays a critical role in growing our nation’s economy and creating American manufacturing jobs,” said Rep. Jackie Walorski, co-chair of the House RV Caucus. “I’m pleased Secretary Zinke is launching the ‘Made in America’ Recreation Advisory Committee to help achieve the important goals of increasing access to our nation’s public lands, boosting investment in outdoor tourism and building more American-made products like RVs and boats.”

The committee will offer new opportunities for experienced and committed supporters of the Great Outdoors to collaborate with the Secretary and other Interior officials on a wide range of issues. The duties of the Committee are strictly advisory and will consist of, but not be limited to, providing recommendations including policies and programs that:

  • Expand and improve visitor infrastructure developed through public-private partnerships.
  • Implement sustainable operations embracing fair, efficient and convenient fee collection and strategic use of the collected fees.
  • Improve interpretation using technology.
  • Create better tools and/or opportunities for Americans to discover their lands and waters.

The Department of Interior is currently accepting comments and nominations for member of the newly established committee. Nominations may be submitted to Teri Austin, Associate Director for Business Services, National Park Service, Office of Business Services, 1849 C Street, NW, MS 2717, Washington, DC 20240; or email nominations to: teresa_austin@nps.gov.

Read the full Department of the Interior press release here.