President Obama signs Gardner-Shaheen legislation into Law, measures impact of outdoor recreation on U.S. Economy
December 10, 2016
President Barack Obama signed into law legislation authored by U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to require the federal government to measure the impact of the outdoor recreation on the economy. The bipartisan Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2015, introduced in October 2015 by Gardner and Shaheen will inform policy makers and business leaders on the jobs created, and the consumer spending driven by, the outdoor recreation economy. The House companion bill H.R. 4665 was introduced by Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). The bill unanimously passed in the House and then the Senate in November.
"Outdoor recreation is a way of life in Colorado and is a major economic driver for many communities across the Centennial state," said Senator Gardner.
"It's time the federal government measures outdoor recreation's economic impact and I'm pleased President Obama has signed this bipartisan legislation into law. Policymakers in Washington will now have a powerful tool at their disposal that will benefit all Americans by highlighting the industry's economic benefits in Colorado and across the United States."
"This new law will ensure that outdoor recreation is a permanent part of the U.S. GDP and will enable our industry to make the case that preserving public lands and investing in our nation's recreation infrastructure is a sustainable job creator and economic driver that is a hallmark of American values and ideals," said Amy Roberts, Executive Director of the Outdoor Industry Association.
"We appreciate the leadership of Congress in choosing to prioritize this bill with bipartisan, unanimous support for its passage during a very limited end of year session."
Until recently, the federal government did not measure the economic impact of outdoor recreation, despite independent estimates that this sector generates $646 billion in consumer spending each year and supports 6.1 million jobs. In April, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that the Federal Recreation Council will work with the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis to assess the economic contributions of the outdoor recreation industry. The Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2015 ensures that this work continue in the future by requiring it in statute. The bill also requires that the Commerce Department submit a comprehensive analysis to Congress capturing the outdoor recreation sector's contribution to the economy.