Phil Ingrassia

Editor’s Note: The following column by Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) President Phil Ingrassia, appearing in the March issue of RV Executive, outlines the formation of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) and its long-term goals.

The recent formation of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) is the next step in delivering a strong voice for outdoor recreation across America.

The new ORR organization combines the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable, a coalition of America’s leading outdoor recreation trade associations, and the American Recreation Coalition (ARC).

RVDA has been a leading voice in ARC for many years, and the new ORR group will provide even more industry horsepower for issues like public lands access, campground development, and better visitor experiences on public lands.

The ORR chair is Thom Dammrich of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), and the vice chair is Frank Hugelmeyer of Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Glenn Hughes, president-elect of the American Sportfishing Association, will serve as secretary, and I will serve as treasurer.

The ORR-ARC transition will be guided by an expanded board of directors, which will include representatives of the motorcycle industry, the Archery Trade Association, and others. Current ARC President Derrick Crandall will remain as the chief staff officer of the new entity.

As we focus on the importance of the recreation economy and all the elements needed to support it, renewed communications efforts through ORR will demonstrate the need for infrastructure improvements, sound and sustainable management of the nation’s public lands and waters, and better responsiveness to people’s changing recreation preferences.

ORR firmly believes that public-private partnerships are essential to reduce the multibillion-dollar maintenance backlog on public lands and to provide needed recreation facility upgrades, including public campgrounds.

Some of ORR’s long-term objectives are:

• Achieve recognition that outdoor recreation is a major economic player and that growth of the outdoor rec economy is a necessary and bipartisan goal • Persuade the federal government to embrace a pro-recreation “culture change”

• Increase recreational access to public lands and waters • Advocate for sustainable funding and increased usage of public-private partnerships • Boost infrastructure modernization and reduce backlogged maintenance to produce better visitor experiences • Encourage the next generation’s participation in outdoor recreation activities .