Office of Outdoor Recreation Roundup - February 2021
OFFICE OF OUTDOOR RECREATION ROUNDUP
This guest post comes from Cailin O'Brien-Feeney, Director of the Oregon Office of Outdoor Recreation (OREC) with a goal of sharing news, resources and information with the state’s outdoor recreation industry. OOA and OREC are excited to partner on these updates and share what we see.
With the state legislative session now in full swing (virtually) it’s a good time to dig into some bills that are relevant to the outdoor community. In particular, House Bill 2171, Governor Brown’s omnibus outdoor recreation legislation is the top priority for the Office of Outdoor Recreation because of the diversity of priorities it would advance. If you’d rather watch, scroll to the bottom for a webinar hosted by the Oregon Trails Coalition with OREC and Oregon Outfitters and Guides Association. For those that want to get into the details, read on.
WHAT DOES HB 2171 - OUTDOOR LIFE AND RECREATION FOR ALL DO?
Establishes a permanent advisory council to the Office of Outdoor Recreation. This group would be comprised of non-profit, industry, and government to help set Oregon’s outdoor recreation strategies and goals.
Makes the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund permanent, and allocates $1 million dollars that was removed during 2020 pandemic related budget cuts. So far, this public-private partnership has raised ~$300,000 from over 15,000 individual donors, and this bill would restore the 1:1 public funding match.
It also directs the Office of Outdoor Recreation to study, and make recommendations on:
With Business Oregon, collaboratively design and propose a grant program to support outdoor industry entrepreneurs and accelerator programs.
Making it easier for folks to purchase outdoor recreation passes and permits, likely through a single online storefront (think – your sno-park pass, ATV permit, and fishing license available from one place).
Addressing disincentives in Oregon’s recreational immunity and liability laws.
Collaborating with state institutions of higher education to expand educational offerings related to the outdoor recreation economy.
Advancing equity of prize moneys for state-permitted recreation events.
Through a “recreation inventory and gap analysis” better understand recreation trends in the state and the current gaps in infrastructure and access.
Investments, programs and other ways to increase outdoor recreation opportunities for communities of color, people with disabilities and other traditionally marginalized groups.
In short, it creates an OREC advisory group, strengthens an important conservation funding program, and sets the stage for priority work in the years to come. For those interested in learning more about this and other bills, and how to engage the legislative process check out this Oregon Trails Coalition update and training. For more context and deeper explanations of many of these proposals see Governor’s Task Force on the Outdoors: 2020 Framework for Action Next month will return to sharing funding opportunities, news, events and new resources.