Outdoor Recreation Industry Applauds New Senate Bill

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An image of the United States Capitol taken by David Gee

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced the Rural Outward Investment (ROI) Act, which would provide much-needed capital to communities who seek to build and plan recreational economies. .

The Rural Outdoors Investment (ROI) Act focuses on promoting economic growth in rural communities through coordination and strategic investment in recreational assets, planning and development. business development and manufacturing opportunities. This bill would provide vital capital to rural communities across the country working to revitalize and grow their jobs and economies through the outdoor recreation industry by providing $50 million a year in funding for recreation and economic development.

The ROI law provides:

  • $30 million for public works through the Economic Development Administration (EDA). This would fund needed infrastructure upgrades, from signage to boat ramps to new trails.
  • $5 million for grants through the EDA for communities to create recreational economy plans that optimize their natural spaces, including marketing, branding, business development, collection funds and tourism management.
  • $2.5 million in university partnerships to promote local research, education and technical assistance to local stakeholders and businesses for this high-growth sector.
  • $12.5 million for the Recreational Economy for Rural Communities (RERC) Grants for the revitalization of Main Street through outdoor recreation.

“The Rural Outdoor Investment Act will provide much-needed funding for outdoor recreation infrastructure in rural communities at a time when historic numbers of Americans are rediscovering their passion for the outdoors,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, chairman of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). . “We commend Senator Schumer for leading the charge to protect and expand outdoor recreation opportunities and look forward to working with him to pass this vital measure.”

“Rural communities across the country are facing economic and infrastructure challenges stemming from COVID-19, climate change and economies in transition, while trying to seize opportunities from massive changes in labor and of the influx of Americans seeking the outdoors. The Rural Outdoors Investment Act will provide communities with much-needed planning, infrastructure and business support as they attract a distant workforce, create jobs, welcome visitors and bolster their economies through outdoor recreation,” said Jessica Turner, President, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. , of which NMMA is a founding member. “ORR has long seen the return of investment in outdoor recreation to rural economies, and we commend Senators Schumer and Bennet for bringing forward this forward-thinking and essential legislation that will support every corner of the country. .

Participation in outdoor recreation has skyrocketed during the pandemic and shows no signs of receding. Overwhelmingly, boating and fishing is the largest contributor to the outdoor recreation economy and is the largest activity in 39 states and the District of Columbia. In 2020, traditional outdoor recreation – such as boating, fishing, hiking and RVing – flourished, with these activities increasing their contribution to the overall outdoor recreation economy by 22%. At the same time, economic studies continue to show that rural communities that plan for and invest in recreation businesses, access and infrastructure are more resilient and grow faster through more sustainable economic development.

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