November 7, 2017 – Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of the Interior is devoting important new resources to outdoor recreation on America’s public lands and waters. Secretary Ryan Zinke today announced the creation of a Recreation Advisory Committee to help improve visitor experiences through expanded public-private partnerships. The committee will be “dedicated to looking at public-private partnerships across all public lands, with the goal of expanding access to and improving the infrastructure on public lands.” The Secretary has also appointed former Navy SEAL Captain Rick May as a new Senior Advisor to the Secretary, 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.”
According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation generates $887 billion in economic impact and supports 7.6 million jobs across the country. The creation of the Recreation Advisory Committee and May’s appointment – combined with numerous other meetings, declarations and events – are important steps in harnessing the might of the outdoor recreation economy, and shows the Department’s commitment to supporting its continued growth.
“We used to have a Bureau of Recreation – we're bringing recreation back,” Secretary Zinke said. “So, I've hired a former Navy SEAL captain to evaluate our public lands and look at the recreation opportunities, so the American public can enjoy our lands.”
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.
These actions are the result of numerous meetings between the Department of the Interior, the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable (ORIR), of which the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is a member, and other associations and organizations. In April, senior officials from the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service met with more than 30 representatives of the outdoor recreation industry at Shenandoah National Park to discuss improving visitor experiences on America’s public lands and waters.
That meeting was followed by another April gathering where Secretary Zinke told recreation industry leaders he needed creative, bold thinking to help him deliver recreation experiences on Interior lands, overcoming such problems as congestion in areas like Yosemite Valley and unsustainable financial operations of recreation programs.
In July, the ORIR presented the Secretary and his team with nearly 30 ideas that can provide immediate and dramatic improvement to visitor experiences and reductions in deferred maintenance through private investments.
“As the trade association that represents the recreational fishing industry, ASA applauds Secretary Zinke and his team for recognizing how important outdoor recreation is to our nation’s economy,” said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman. “We in the fishing and boating industries are looking forward to collaborating with the Secretary, Rick May and our industry partners on efforts to benefit all the American people.”
Read the full Department of the Interior press release here.
OUTDOOR RECREATION INDUSTRY ROUNDTABLE – is a coalition of America’s leading outdoor recreation trade associations working to promote the policy and legislative reforms needed to grow the outdoor recreation economy. Roundtable members represent the thousands of U.S. businesses that produce vehicles, equipment, gear, apparel and services for the millions of Americans who enjoy our nation’s parks, waterways, byways, trails and outdoor spaces. Combined, the various business sectors within the outdoor recreation industry generate $887 billion-per-year in economic activity and provide an estimated 7.6 million direct jobs. Coalition members produce the eight largest recreation tradeshows in the U.S. and their members annually contribute $40 billion in federal excise tax, sales tax and duties.
The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry's trade association committed to representing the interests of the sportfishing and boating industries as well as the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry and anglers a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. ASA invests in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous, as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic, conservation and social values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America's 46 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation's waterways through Keep America Fishing®, our national angler advocacy campaign. America's anglers generate more than $48 billion in retail sales with a $115 billion impact on the nation's economy creating employment for more than 828,000 people.