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Climate Change Threatens Outdoor Recreation, Senate Hearing Reveals Economic Impact

Last week, the Senate Budget Committee convened to address the growing concern of climate change on outdoor recreation, a sector vital to the U.S. economy. The hearing, “Recreation at Risk: The Nature of Climate Costs,” aimed to uncover the environmental challenges facing the industry, which contributes 2.2% to U.S. GDP.

As per a release, Jessica Wahl Turner, president of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR), testified about the economic stakes. She noted the outdoor industry’s substantial contribution of $1.1 trillion in economic output and the support it provides for nearly five million jobs nationwide. Turner emphasized the necessity of addressing climate-induced alterations in outdoor recreational activities.

Theresa McKenney, director of Sustainability and Government Affairs at NEMO Equipment, highlighted the existential threat climate change poses to the industry. McKenney pointed out the dependency of outdoor gear markets on safe, accessible recreation areas, underlining the urgency in confronting climate impacts.

During the hearing, McKenney also promoted legislative support for the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act (AORA) and the Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act. These bills aim to enhance public land access and foster green infrastructure investments, pivotal for sustaining outdoor activities.

Witnesses at the event, including industry and academic leaders, discussed the multifaceted effects of climate change on outdoor recreation. They covered topics ranging from economic losses due to weather disruptions to broader concerns over public health and infrastructure.

Among the speakers were Hilary Hutcheson, an outfitter; Gus Schumacher, an American cross-country skier and Olympian; Dr. Joao Gomes from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; and Scott Walter, president of Capital Research Center. Their insights provided a comprehensive view of the challenges and opportunities in mitigating climate change impacts on the industry.

The discussion also underscored the importance of bipartisan political support for relevant legislative actions. The AORA and EXPLORE Act represent crucial steps in protecting outdoor recreation assets against the adverse effects of climate change.

The hearing underscored the need for a proactive approach to safeguard the outdoor recreation economy. Stakeholders are called upon to collaborate in crafting policies that will protect natural resources and ensure the sector’s resilience.

The Senate Budget Committee’s deliberations reflect a growing recognition of the intrinsic link between environmental stewardship and economic sustainability in the outdoor recreation industry. The testimony provided during the hearing serves as a critical call to action for Congress and the industry to develop innovative solutions to these pressing challenges.

The full hearing, including opening statements and witness testimony, is available on the Senate Budget Committee’s website. This resource offers an in-depth understanding of the ongoing legislative and industry efforts to combat the adverse effects of climate change on outdoor recreation.

The Senate hearing illuminated the critical challenges and legislative pathways to sustaining the outdoor recreation industry amid climate threats. It signifies a pivotal moment for policymakers, business leaders, and stakeholders to unite in fortifying the industry against the looming impacts of climate change, securing a prosperous future for outdoor recreational activities in America.

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March 31, 2024 1:39 pm

I found this info really insightful! Apart from discussing legislative support and climate challenges, the Senate hearing also stressed the importance of partnerships for sustainable practices. Plus, they highlighted how tech and innovation can help create climate-resilient gear and infrastructure for better outdoor experiences. Pretty cool stuff!

March 31, 2024 4:16 pm

Let’s dig into the cool ideas shared at the Senate hearing! Encouraging eco-friendly practices in outdoor recreation can help combat climate challenges and build a strong, sustainable future. Join the conversation!

April 1, 2024 12:25 am
Reply to  ShoreLine742

Embracing sustainable materials like recycled plastics and promoting Leave No Trace principles can safeguard our natural playgrounds. This movement will shape a greener future for outdoor enthusiasts.

Nolan Creek
Nolan Creek
March 31, 2024 9:41 pm

Besides the Senate chat, remember we can help nature by backing eco-friendly outdoor brands and pushing for sustainable recreation. Let’s cut our carbon footprint for a greener tomorrow!

April 1, 2024 1:03 am

Isn’t it cool how industry leaders and policymakers are teaming up for sustainable outdoor practices? It’s rad to see them tackling climate challenges for the future of outdoor fun!

April 1, 2024 1:17 am

I was really struck by how the hearing highlighted the push for eco-friendly outdoor gear to combat climate challenges. It’s awesome how they’re looking at creating jobs and boosting the economy through clean energy solutions for outdoor fun spots. So important for our future!

Vera Light
Vera Light
April 3, 2024 4:23 pm

Isn’t it wacky how those squirrels and that mountain goat stole the show during the Senate chat? I mean, acorn-friendly policies and a goat soliloquy? What a wild ride!


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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: Climate Change Threatens Outdoor Recreation, Senate Hearing Reveals Economic Impact! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/usa/climate-change-threatens-outdoor-recreation-senate-hearing-reveals-economic-impact/