The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) applauded the Senate Appropriations Committee for including funding for the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) in its FY2019 Commerce, Justice and Science markup.
According to a press release, the markup set funding for ORSA at $1.5 million, meeting the funding levels necessary to survey the economic impact of the outdoor recreation industry in the coming fiscal year.
The BEA, which is the government body responsible for calculating U.S. GDP, launched ORSA in 2017 to complement its overall statistical analysis by providing detailed insights into the economic impact of the outdoor recreation industry. The industry had previously not been included in U.S. GDP calculations despite years of calls to do so by industry leaders.
In February, ORSA released its highly-anticipated initial statistical findings on the outdoor recreation industry, showing the sector makes up 2 percent of U.S. GDP and accounts for $673 billion in annual gross domestic output. This impact exceeds that of key U.S. industries such as farming and computer manufacturing. In addition, ORSA found the outdoor recreation economy grew by 3.8% in 2016, exceeding the 2.8% growth of the overall U.S. economy during the same period.
“We are grateful to Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Moran and ranking member Jeanne Shaheen for including this critically important funding in today’s markup,” said Thom Dammrich, ORR chair and president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). “The outdoor recreation industry has long known the significant impact we have on the overall U.S. economy, but it wasn’t until BEA released its findings earlier this year that our impact was formally recognized by the government. Funding ORSA for FY2019 will ensure that we can build on the progress made in 2018 by studying the industry’s economic impact at the national and regional levels and demonstrating that outdoor recreation deserves to be a national priority.”
The markup gives the outdoor recreation industry a major victory as it seeks to continue the government’s formal recognition of its economic impact in the United States.
“Despite being established only last year, ORSA has been instrumental in our efforts to show policymakers just how important our industry is to the American economy,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, ORR vice chair and president of the RV Industry Association. “We will continue working as an industry to ensure that the growth of the outdoor recreation economy is matched by commonsense policies that lead to smart investments in the infrastructure of our national lands and waterways.”
“It is critical for lawmakers to understand the full economic impact of outdoor recreation in the United States as they debate policies that will shape our industry in the years ahead,” said Amy Roberts, executive cirector of the Outdoor Industry Association. “The analysis provided by ORSA is an invaluable tool for our leaders in Washington and demonstrates that a healthy outdoor recreation industry is essential to the strength of the national economy. We want to thank Chairman Moran and ranking member Shaheen for making the funding of ORSA a priority and to Senator Gardner for his continued support for the program.”
As Congress takes the next steps in its funding, ORSA is expected to release revised outdoor recreation economic data this fall, with updates to the prototype figures released in February. At the same time, ORR members will be advocating for final passage of an ORSA funding bill in both chambers of Congress.