The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable Board of Directors announced the appointment of Jessica Wahl as executive director following an extensive national search. Wahl brings a decade of experience navigating the halls of the White House, the Department of the Interior, Capitol Hill, state recreation offices and outdoor lifestyle businesses.
“We couldn’t be happier to have Jessica lead the ORR,” said Tim Buche, president and CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Council and an ORR board member. “Beyond her passionate advocacy for outdoor recreation, Jessica has always been collaborative, and our associations, on the two-wheel and four-wheel sides, have benefited working with her when she was at the Outdoor Industry Association,” said Buche, who also represents the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America as members of the ORR.
“Jessica is the ideal person to take on the new role of executive director,” said Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association and chairman of the board for ORR. “Her demonstrated leadership in raising the profile of the outdoor recreation economy combined with her proven skills in championing meaningful policy changes that positively impact the entire outdoor recreation community make Jess the perfect choice.”
“I am honored to be chosen as the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable’s executive director,” Wahl said. “I have always had a deep personal connection to the great outdoors and have spent my career working to connect more people to these special places. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with America’s leading outdoor recreation organizations to grow the outdoor recreation economy that impacts so many livelihoods and communities. By creating a shared national vision for outdoor recreation, we can improve access to our parks, trails, campgrounds and waters, and ensure a better quality of life for all Americans.”
Prior to the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, Wahl directed Outdoor Industry Association’s outdoor recreation portfolio in Washington, D.C., where she successfully gained landmark government recognition of outdoor recreation’s contribution to the national Gross Domestic Product. In 2018, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that outdoor recreation makes up 2.2% of the nation’s GDP and is one of America’s leading industry sectors.
Wahl is also co-founder and past-chair of the Coalition for Outdoor Access, working to reform outfitter and guide permitting systems within federal land agencies, an effort designed to help more Americans gain access to the outdoors. Before OIA, Wahl worked at DOI in the Office of the Interior Secretary where she managed First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Outside and Let’s Move! in Indian Country initiatives.
“I’ve worked alongside Jessica on the Hill and within departments of the Administration, and greatly value her inclusive approach in shaping policy that promotes both motorized and non-motorized recreation, allowing us to have a stronger, unified voice in Washington,” said Callie Hoyt, federal affairs manager for the MIC.
Wahl joins ORR on Jan. 7 and will succeed Derrick Crandall, president of American Recreation Coalition and current ORR president. Since the April 2018 announced merger between ARC and the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable that formed ORR, Crandall has led the successful integration of the two entities. Crandall will continue to consult on ORR’s Partners Outdoors and Great Outdoors Month programs as well as continue as ORR board representative for the National Park Hospitality Association.