Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) members yesterday participated the White House Conservation in Action Summit held at the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The event brought together industry leaders eager to highlight the importance of conservation to recreation. ORR gathered leaders from the business, nonprofit, and federal sectors to discuss what has been accomplished by coming together and how much more there is to do, ORR said.
ORR members Frank Hugelmeyer, National Marine Manufacturers Association president and ORR Board Chair; Taldi Harrison, REI head of Government Affairs; Mary Ellen Sprenkel The Corps Network president and CEO as well as Maite Arce, Hispanic Access Foundation president and CEO spoke on a panel with Bureau of Land Management Director Tracy Stone-Manning.
Leaders discussed the Inflation Reduction Act, monies from which have been invested in forest health, outdoor infrastructure and ecosystem and habitat restoration. Healthy parks, forests and waters directly help to support the $862 billion outdoor recreation industry, ORR said.
“Today’s panel discussion underscored why it is foundational to make outdoor recreation activities, including boating and fishing, accessible for all,” Hugelmeyer said. “Ensuring responsible access to our cherished public lands and waters is essential to sustaining the nation’s growing outdoor recreation economy. Outdoor recreation brings together families, enhances the health of Americans and inspires millions to be better stewards of the great outdoors.”
As more and more Americans participate in outdoor activities, work must be done to increase access, improve outdoor infrastructure and combat climate change through public lands and water conservation, ORR said.
. “We’re grateful to the Biden administration for supporting and prioritizing our shared goal of increasing access to the outdoors,” Hugelmeyer said. “Today’s announcement, including over $20 million in boating infrastructure grants and new actions to conserve, restore, and expand access to our nation’s lands and waters will strengthen the recreational boating economy, the number one driver of the $862 billion outdoor recreation economy.”
Sprenkel said the Civilian Climate Corps, established under the Biden Administration, will create jobs and train American youth for conservation careers.
“It will engage Americans in making our parks and outdoor recreation accessible to all,” Sprenkel said. “These past several years have shown just how important access to the outdoors is for everyone in our country, no matter where they live.”
The current administration has made equity a cornerstone of its conservation and climate action plans, said Arce.
“Our collective work is critical if we hope to balance access to outdoor recreation with conservation, climate, and stewardship priorities while addressing historical and ongoing inequities in access to these benefits,” Arce said.