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 in newsletters going forward in 2021.
New Resources and Education
The Oregon Office of Outdoor Recreation (OREC), Oregon Fish & Wildlife and Travel Oregon released a new Outdoor Recreation Economic Impact Study which found that in 2019 outdoor recreation supported $15.6 billion in spending, 224,000 full- and part-time jobs and generated $9.3 billion in wages and compensation. The study also includes breakdowns of local and tourist spending, as well as breakdowns by county and legislative district. See the full study and download factsheets to share here.
Outdoor Retailer Winter Online is here, and there are lots of articles and webinar sessions on the state of the outdoor industry economy, advocacy issues, inclusivity, crowing in the backcountry and more.
A new toolkit from the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable offers a playbook for rural communities interested in developing their own outdoor recreation economy.
The Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund – a new public-private grant program focused conserving our living natural resources for present and future generations – is up and running, with the Office of Outdoor Recreation serving in an ex-officio role on the grant committee. Lean more about OCRF background and ways to get involved at Oregonisalive.org and see recently funded projects here as well as provisionally approved projects contingent on additional fundraising here.
OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program recently launched two equity grants for Outdoor School Providers and Facilities. One grant focuses on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) program improvement, while the other grant focuses on Accessibility and Inclusion site improvement.
Travel Oregon is excited to announce the launch of the Destination Ready program to support destination development efforts in advance of summer 2021. This $250,000 direct investment program offers funding and technical assistance for the development, enhancement and stewardship of key visitor experiences that are COVID-19 appropriate, will aid economic recovery, enhance local livability and provide access to a diversity of explorers.
Policy and Legislation
Last year, the Office of Outdoor Recreation served as the convener of the Governor’s Task Force on the Outdoors which made recommendations on supporting Oregon’s outdoor recreation sector, balancing use and preservation of natural resources and improving equitable access to the outdoors [final report]. Now, as the 2021 state legislative session starts this week House Bill 2171 has been introduced carrying forward many of that group’s recommendations along with recommendations from the Governor’s Racial Justice Council. More updates on the 2021 legislative session will come in February.