What are Offices of Outdoor Recreation?

Photo by Jack Sloop on Unsplash

The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) works with states across the country in order to grow and maintain the outdoor recreation economy. In doing so, OIA has been a leading player in efforts to create outdoor recreation offices across the United States. These states have created these offices or task forces in order to:

  • “Bolster Economic Development” and the outdoor recreation economy
  • Promote health and wellness
  • Ensure conservation and stewardship of public lands and waters
  • Educate and engage children in the outdoors
  • Serve as a point of contact to the businesses, stakeholders and different levels of government that care about the outdoor recreation industry”

OIA keeps an updated list of states that have offices of outdoor recreation, read more for a summary of each individual program:

Offices of Outdoor Recreation

COLORADO

  • Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office: seeks to “inspire industries and communities to thrive in Colorado’s great outdoors through our focus on four impact areas: economic development, conservation and stewardship, education and workforce, and health and wellness.”
  • Nathan Fey serves as the Director of the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry

MAINE

  • Maine’s Office of Outdoor Recreation: aims to “leverage Maine’s assets and outdoor recreation heritage to grow the outdoor recreation economy and build Maine’s outdoor recreation brand as part of a coordinated effort with partners from the public and private sectors.”
  • Carolann Ouellette serves as the Director of Outdoor Recreation 

MICHIGAN

  • Michigan’s Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry:  “works with industry partners from many sectors to anticipate emerging trends, create effective policy and elevate outdoor recreation opportunities and resources across Michigan.”
  • Brad Garmon serves as Director of the Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry
    • Contact the office here

MONTANA

NEVADA

  • Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation: “tasked with promoting the growth of Nevada’s outdoor recreation economy, advocating on behalf of Nevada for federal funding, coordinate recreation policy among local, state and federal government entities, promote the health and social benefits of outdoor recreation, and promote engagement in the outdoors among diverse communities.”
  • Heidi Swank serves as the Administrator for the new Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation. There will be one more administrator appointed in the coming months. 
    • No Contact Info Yet 

NEW HAMPSHIRE

  • Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry Development: will work to “grow our state’s industry and economy, promote the social and health benefits of outdoor recreation, and inspire new generations to access the many benefits of going outside.”
  • No appointed director at this time.

NEW MEXICO

  • New Mexico’s Outdoor Recreation Division: was created during the 2019 legislative session and will be “tasked with increasing outdoor-recreation-based economic development, tourism, and ecotourism, recruiting new outdoor businesses to relocate to New Mexico, and promoting education about outdoor recreation’s benefits to enhance public health.”
  • Axie Navas serves as New Mexico’s Director of the Office of Outdoor Recreation 
    • No Contact Yet

NORTH CAROLINA

  • The role of Outdoor Recreation and Recruitment Director lives within the state’s commerce department to “promote North Carolina’s outdoor recreation economy and to assist in the recruitment of new businesses to the state.”
  • David Knight serves as the Outdoor Recreation and Recruitment Director
    • No Contact Info Yet

OREGON

  • Oregon Office of Outdoor Recreation: coordinates the state’s outdoor recreation policy across agencies, between public and private sectors, and in cooperation with organizations that have an interest in seeing outdoor recreation thrive throughout the state. 
  • Cailin O’Brien-Feeney serves as Oregon’s Director of Outdoor Recreation

UTAH

  • Utah’s Office of Outdoor Recreation: the first program in the country created in 2013. Its mission is to “establish a nationwide recreation management standard, and ensure that the state’s natural assets can sustain economic growth for years to come.”
  • Tom Adams serves as Director of the UT Office of Outdoor Recreation 

VIRGINIA

WASHINGTON

  • Washington’s program is housed within the office of the governor. The Policy Advisor for Outdoor Recreation and Economic Development “is charged with serving as the state lead on economic development issues relating to the outdoor recreation sector in Washington”
  • Jon Snyder services as Senior Policy Advisor for Outdoor Recreation and Economic Development 

WISCONSIN

  • Wisconsin’s Office of Outdoor Recreation: “will work to amplify the efforts of the Department of Natural Resources and Travel Wisconsin, protect natural resources in the state while supporting and growing the state’s $17.9 billion recreation economy.”
  • No appointed director at this time.

WYOMING

  • Wyoming’s Office of Outdoor Recreation: “strives to enhance and expand the outdoor recreation industry and improve outdoor recreation infrastructure/access within the beautiful state of Wyoming.”
  • David Glenn serves as the Deputy Director of Wyoming Outdoor Recreation Office and State Parks

Task Forces

MARYLAND

  • Maryland’s Outdoor Recreation Economic Commission: “responsible for developing strategies and making recommendations to the governor to strengthen the state’s outdoor recreation industry and help ensure increased investment in our state’s outdoor recreation resources.”
  • See a list of appointed commission members here.

VERMONT

  • Vermont Outdoor Recreation Collaborative (VOREC):  “Leveraging Vermont’s Outdoor Recreation Assets to Stimulate and Improve Economic Outcomes” This entity serves as an advisor to the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation Agency of Commerce and Community Development. 
  • Michael Snyder serves as commissioner and chair of VOREC

How can you take action?

Check out this comprehensive resource from the Outdoor Industry Association to learn more about how you can get involved with your state’s office or task force. 

If your state does not have an office or task force, OIA encourages constituents to do the following:

  • Find peers and colleagues in the industry who also see the need for an office or task force in your state and build relationships and coalitions with these industry leaders
  • Start communicating and building relationships with your state representatives
  • Reach out to OIA for assistance

Resources


NOTE: THIS IS A LIVING RESOURCE! As with all resources on Outdoor Advocacy Project, there is always room to continue the conversation, add a new perspective, bolster the resources, and share new findings. Got something you want to add, change, challenge or amplify? Let us know in the comments, or e-mail team@outdooradvocacy.com to write your own.

Amelia Howe
Amelia Howe

Amelia Howe is an environmental advocacy and policy professional based in Salt Lake City. She analyzes complex legislation, creating digestible summaries that inspire thoughtful engagement. Coffee and climbing fill her time when she isn’t nerding out over the latest policy news. 

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