REC Act Signed into Law

Groundbreaking legislation will measure the recreation economy for the very first time - a big step towards illuminating the financial benefits of conserving our public lands.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
December 09, 2016

Yesterday, the recreation community, Congress, and President Obama came together to make history. With the passage of Outdoor REC Act, the recreation economy – and the billions of dollars, millions of jobs, and invaluable public lands it encompasses – will be counted as part of the national Gross Domestic Product for the first time. 

The legislation calls for federal reporting to shed light on the outdoor industry. Long overlooked, recreation has been called a 'sleeping giant', generating $646 billion in spending per year. The recreation economy also supports 6 million jobs across the US. 

This reporting will inform lawmakers as they make critical decisions about access, permitting, and conservation on public lands. "Having reliable information is going to inform better policy making on a lot of different fronts,” said Adam Cramer, executive director of the Outdoor Alliance and strong advocate for this legislation.

We agree. "Having this data will have a significant impact on public lands management – it can be a game changer for protecting the outdoor experience," said Katherine Hollis, The Mountaineers' director of conservation and advocacy.

For The Mountaineers, the legislation will help us make the case for supporting and protecting the wild places where we play. “Measuring the outdoor industry shows that helping the environment can help the economy," said Mountaineers CEO Tom Vogl. "A trip to Mount Si isn’t just about breathtaking views of preserved public lands. It’s about the boot fitter who sold you shoes and the diner in Issaquah where you stopped for burgers. It’s fantastic that we’ll now have the data to quantify the economic value of connecting with the outdoors.”

The bill rode a wave of bipartisan support to the President’s desk, earning a unanimous vote from both the House and Senate. Here in Washington state, The Mountaineers and our partners have built a strong relationship with local legislators who helped pass the bill. 

We have advocated for this bill since it was introduced and are truly proud that our home state – through the leadership of Representatives Cathy McMorris Rogers and Dave Reichert – lead this bipartisan legislation.

This legislation is of particular importance in the Evergreen State, where recreation supports nearly 200,000 jobs and generates $21 billion of annual spending, much of that in local communities.

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Drew Eliott
Drew Eliott says:
Sun, Jan 1, 2017 1:13 PM

Excellent quick summary of the benefits of this legislation for those who love the outdoors in Washington and throughout America. Thank you