More than 100 outdoor businesses, from Fortune 500 companies to mom and pop shops, including specialty retailers, gear and vehicle manufacturers, outfitters, campground and marina operators, and more sent a letter to Senate leadership urging swift passage of the Great American Outdoors Act to stimulate the outdoor recreation industry and provide safe and sustainable recreation access and infrastructure for generations to come.
The GAOA would provide a critical boost to what was, before the pandemic, a $778 billion a year industry supporting 5.2 million jobs and accounting for 2.2 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. According to the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable’s most recent member survey and dashboard of the sector, 94 percent of outdoor industry businesses have experienced a decrease in sales and 88 percent have laid off or furloughed a portion of their workforce. As these cross-sector companies show, investments in conservation and recreation are needed to provide business certainty so the outdoor recreation industry can get back to what it does best — grow jobs, support healthy communities, and provide more opportunities for everyone to benefit from time spent outside.
“Maintenance backlogs have led to deteriorated trails and facilities, preventing Americans, including our large community of motorized off-road vehicle users, from participating in healthful outdoor activities at a time when we need it most,” said Erik Pritchard, president and CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Council, Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America. “The GAOA would ensure that access and infrastructure on public lands and waters are restored so that families and recreationists can enjoy the outdoors safely and close to home. This would also provide a much needed boost to local businesses that support these activities.”
“Our entire industry is behind this, from skiers to snowmobilers, hunters to hikers, campers to RVers, and climbers to motorcyclists,” said Jessica (Wahl) Turner, executive director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “Businesses have been making calls, running sign-on campaigns, and sending letters. This unity shows the amazing work that has been done to get us to where we are on this once-in-a-generation legislation. In the next week, Congress has the opportunity to do something that truly outlasts their time in office and that will benefit the nation for decades to come.”