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Inaugural National Outdoor Recreation Executive Forum Convenes in Washington D.C.

The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) hosted the first National Outdoor Recreation Executive Forum on Tuesday, bringing together leaders from various sectors to discuss the future and economic impact of outdoor recreation in the United States.

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 07: (L-R) Leland Vittert, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Governor Doug Burgum participate in the first-ever National Outdoor Recreation Executive Forum hosted by Outdoor Recreation Roundtable at Decatur House. | Image by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Outdoor Recreation Roundtable

The event, staged at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, followed a meeting with White House officials on Monday. Discussions centered on the outdoor recreation industry’s contribution of $1.1 trillion to the economy and its support for 5 million jobs, representing 2.2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Jessica Wahl Turner, president of ORR, emphasized the importance of the forum in shaping a new vision for the sector. “This forum is a pivotal moment for the outdoor recreation economy,” Turner said. She highlighted the goals of fostering innovation, sustainability, and inclusivity to expand the recreation economy.

The forum also saw the launch of a new report detailing outdoor recreation-related spending and addressing threats to the industry along with potential solutions. This report aims to guide future strategies for growth and sustainability within the sector.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland delivered the keynote address, “The Power of the Outdoors,” which was followed by a question-and-answer session moderated by Carolyn MacNaughton, CEO of Manitobah. The discussions underscored the social, environmental, and economic benefits of increasing public engagement with the outdoors.

A series of high-level discussions followed, featuring prominent figures such as U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper, Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. The forum also hosted a fireside chat with John Podesta, senior advisor to President Joe Biden, focusing on leadership and future challenges in outdoor recreation.

Sessions during the forum addressed various key issues including consumer trends, inclusion, infrastructure, and innovation in outdoor recreation. Leaders from the National Park Service, public lands foundations, and private outdoor companies discussed strategies to meet the evolving needs of outdoor enthusiasts.

Funding for outdoor recreation was another critical topic, with insights from Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, and Luis Benitez, chief impact officer of the Trust for Public Land. 

The forum also highlighted the ongoing efforts to promote sustainability within the industry. Discussions featured executives from major companies like Winnebago Industries and REI Co-op, exploring initiatives to reduce environmental impacts and enhance sustainable practices.

Access to outdoor spaces was a key theme, with panelists discussing how to improve access and inclusivity for diverse communities across the country. The panel included U.S. Representatives Gabe Vasquez and Ryan Zinke, who shared insights on legislative and grassroots efforts to enhance public land access.

The National Outdoor Recreation Executive Forum marked a significant step in uniting industry leaders and policymakers to bolster the outdoor recreation economy. With its comprehensive approach to tackling industry challenges and promoting growth, the forum set the stage for future developments in outdoor recreation across the United States.

Featured image via recreationroundtable.org

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Brian Wood
Brian Wood
May 9, 2024 11:34 am

Isn’t it great how the forum wasn’t just about talks but also practical workshops? It’s cool to see them teaming up with schools to push innovation and diversity in outdoor recreation. That’s how you shape an industry for a brighter, more inclusive future!

May 9, 2024 3:24 pm
Reply to  Brian Wood

It’s awesome to see collaborations igniting innovation and diversity in outdoor recreation. That combo of engaging talks and hands-on workshops at the forum was fantastic. It provided a diverse and inclusive experience for all involved. How was your experience at the forum?

Joseph Wright
Joseph Wright
May 9, 2024 3:46 pm
Reply to  KeenMystery62

Sounds like you had quite the experience at the forum! It must have been a great opportunity to connect with others in the outdoor recreation industry. Connecting with industry peers is always inspiring!

May 9, 2024 2:01 pm

I’m really thrilled to tell you that at the forum, they put a big focus on how tech can make outdoor activities even better and bring in more people. Plus, there were interactive workshops where leaders shared ideas to push ahead with cool projects.

Leo Starlight
Leo Starlight
May 9, 2024 8:20 pm

Did you know that at the forum, experts shared tips on sustainable outdoor practices and stressed community involvement for a positive impact? Attendees connected in networking sessions, boosting collaborations for better outdoor opportunities. It was such a great event, don’t you think?

May 9, 2024 10:18 pm

Did you know the forum dived into cool tech for better outdoor fun? They also chatted about public-private teamwork to make outdoor spaces awesome for everyone! Cool stuff, right?

May 10, 2024 9:20 am

Isn’t it awesome that the forum highlighted inclusivity and conservation? It’s great to see efforts to ensure everyone can enjoy the outdoors and protect our natural spaces for the future.

May 10, 2024 12:51 pm

The National Outdoor Recreation Executive Forum opened up exciting opportunities for public-private collaboration and technological advancements to cater to outdoor enthusiasts’ evolving demands. Pretty cool stuff, right?


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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: Inaugural National Outdoor Recreation Executive Forum Convenes in Washington D.C.! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/usa/dc/inaugural-national-outdoor-recreation-executive-forum-convenes-in-washington-d-c/