The state offices for outdoor recreation are increasing in both size and importance. The growth was felt during the Outdoor Media Summit (OMS) in Estes Park in Colorado, a report said.
The annual meeting held by the Confluence of States, a group of states with government departments committed to increasing the outdoor recreation economy, was held in the same venue as OMS.
11 OREC directors were in attendance, allowing them to meet with outdoor brands and media who talked about their hopes of boosting the market for outdoor recreation for everyone.
“The economic influence and bi-partisan political strength of the outdoor recreation economy is growing fast,” said Nathan Fey, director of the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation. “The momentum behind the confluence of states, joining together to shape policies that are both pro-business and pro-environment, is evidence of the power within our industry. We are pleased to host the annual Summit and signing ceremony here in Colorado, where it all started.”
On Thursday, the final day for both Confluence of States and OMS, participants considered ways to cooperate to push for outdoor initiatives. This is the primary benefit of jointly hosting both summits, said Colin Robertson, administrator of the Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation.
“This was an important opportunity to connect state offices of outdoor recreation with the outdoor industry and outdoor media,” he said.
“It helped us think about how we can better collaborate to advance the outdoor economies in each of our states. It’s important for offices like mine to be able to work with the outdoor industry, to break down the silos of state government, and bring to bear economic development, conservation, and stewardship, health, and wellness, as well as education and workforce training.”
In just four years, sixteen states (Utah, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Wyoming, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Virginia, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Maryland) have established the government’s task force or offices that are dedicated to outdoor recreation. This has increased the power of the outdoor recreation industry.
One of the main goals, Robertson said, is to push states to establish outdoor recreation offices and raise awareness of the $877 billion and the growing impact that the outdoor industry has on the GDP.
It is the Confluence of States coalition, which is a bipartisan effort, that brings the outdoors on the political scene. It was formed in January of 2018 when the Confluence Accords were drafted. The document officially launched the Confluence of States coalition. It allows the states to “cement their reputations as champions of a healthy outdoor recreation economy and join a vibrant group of peers working to advance this mission.”
The Confluence of States Annual Summit at OMS was attended by prominent outdoor industry players like REI Co-op, Patagonia, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), and Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR).