Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

February 2017

Outdoor REC Act Signed Into Law

By Chandler Garland

On Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016 former President Barrack Obama signed into law the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act. Also known as H.R 4665, this new law is the capstone of recent efforts by House representatives to increase the assessment of the outdoor recreation industries contribution to the United States' Economy.

This movement was begun in mid-November by Rep. David Beyer (D-VA) whose Outdoor Recreation's Economic Contributions (REC) Act passed in the House of Representatives. This bipartisan act was introduced collaboratively by Rep. Beyer with Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA).

"Our public lands offer Washingtonians the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors, including the Colville and Umatilla National Forests," said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. "This legislation provides clarity to the American people about the economic impact our outdoor industries provide to the American economy."

The REC Act will direct the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis to assess the outdoor industry's contribution to job creation and consumer spending.

"…spending time outside is more than a recreational activity in my home state—the outdoors industry is a staple of our economy. I am proud today my colleagues in the House joined me in recognizing the important role the outdoor recreation industry plays in contributing to job creation and the overall health of our economy," said Rep. Dave Reichert.

The thousands of manufacturers, retailers and service providers in the outdoor recreation industry contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to the American economy as well as millions of jobs. "The passage of Recreation's Economic Contributions (REC) Act shows that members of the House understand that as well. We are grateful for the leadership of Congressman Beyer, Congressman Reichert, Congressman Welch, and Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers and join them in celebrating today's vote. This is a big step forward in making sure that the federal government quantifies the economic importance of our industry and uses that data to inform the decisions that affect our businesses and the 142 million Americans who recreate outside each year," said Outdoor Industry Association Executive Director Amy Roberts.

The hope of Rep. Beyer, Reichert, Welch, and McMorris Roger was that a companion legislation, introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Cory Gardener (R-CO) would pass in the Senate and then move to the President's desk to be signed into law.

"With this vote, we can finally recognize the outdoor recreation industry's enormous contribution to the U.S. economy," said Rep. Don Beyer. "This data is critical to crafting sound environmental and recreational policies that support the $646 billion outdoor economy."

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