Virginia joined a growing number of states that have embraced the importance of the outdoor industry by establishing an Office of Outdoor Recreation, drawing praise from the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR).

According to a press release, Gov. Ralph Northam unveiled the office in Roanoke, Va., which was attended by ORR and its members – including the National Marine Manufacturers Association and RV Industry Association – as well as partner the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and local business Missile Baits.

Virginia joins Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico and Wisconsin as states that have created Offices of Outdoor Recreation in the past few months. Fifteen states across the country now have either offices or task forces dedicated to growing the outdoor recreation economy, which is growing faster than the economy as a whole.

“The creation of the Office of Outdoor Recreation is a huge step forward for Virginia, one of my favorite states to recreate in,” said Jessica Wahl, executive director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “Outdoor recreation in this state generates billions of dollars each year, creating jobs, supporting rural communities and promoting conservation.”