Polaris, Yamaha among businesses urging House to pass the Great American Outdoors Act

A total of 127 outdoor businesses sent a letter to House leadership today urging passage of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). GAOA, if passed, will stimulate the outdoor recreation industry and the thousands of small and large businesses that comprise the growing industry.

GAOA would also create more safe and sustainable recreation access while improving infrastructure for all Americans. The 127 cross-sector companies — included, among others, Airstream, Bass Pro Shops, Brunswick, Cabela's, Columbia Sportswear, Kampgrounds of America, Polaris Inc., Pure Fishing, The North Face, VF Corporation, Winnebago and Yamaha.

All of them signed on in order to highlight that investments in conservation and recreation are needed to provide business certainty so the recreation industry can get back to what it does best — grow jobs, support healthy communities, economies and people, and provide more opportunities for everyone to benefit from time spent outside.

“Our entire industry continues to spearhead support for GAOA — from skiers to snowmobilers, hunters to hikers, campers to RVers and climbers to motorcyclists,” said Jessica (Wahl) Turner, executive director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR). “Businesses have been making calls, running sign-on campaigns and sending letters. This unity in our business community showcases the incredible things we can accomplish when we work together. The House of Representatives has the opportunity to do something that truly outlasts their time in office and that will benefit the nation for decades to come by passing this once-in-a-generation legislation.”

As a reminder, GAOA would provide a critical boost to what was, before the pandemic, a $778 billion a year industry supporting 5.2 million jobs and accounting for 2.2% of United States Gross Domestic Product. According to Outdoor Recreation Roundtable’s member survey and dashboard of the sector, 94 percent of outdoor industry businesses have experienced a decrease in sales and 88 percent have laid off or furloughed a portion of their workforce. The entire outdoor recreation business community urges the House to pass GAOA before the August recess to revitalize this critical sector of the economy and provide more outdoor opportunities for all Americans when they are needed most.

Full text of the outdoor businesses’ letter and the list of signees is available here and included below:

July 13, 2020

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Speaker

U.S. House of Representatives

1236 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy

Minority Leader

U.S. House of Representatives

2468 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy:

The outdoor recreation industry is encouraged by the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act in the Senate and urges clean passage of this landmark legislation through the House as soon as possible. As outdoor recreation business leaders, we know investments in recreation access and infrastructure are vital to the outdoor recreation industry and economies across the country.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the outdoor recreation industry contributed $778 billion in economic output, accounted for 2.2 percent of United States Gross Domestic Product, supported 5.2 million jobs and was growing faster than the economy as a whole in every indicator. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdowns necessary to slow its progression, America’s outdoor recreation economy was hindered when we needed the outdoors more than ever. Outdoor Recreation Roundtable’s May survey of the sector shows that 88 percent of outdoor businesses have had to lay off or furlough employees, and 94 percent are seeing decreased revenue. However, we know there is a bright future for outdoor recreation ahead, as several sectors of the industry are already experiencing rapidly increasing demand.

These outdoor businesses are the backbone of our industry and range from specialty retailers, apparel, gear and vehicle manufacturers, outfitters and guides to campground and marina operators. They are often foundational to a community’s economy. With rising unemployment and Americans eager to experience the outdoors, investment in our industry’s core infrastructure – public lands and waters – will allow our businesses to get back to what we do best: stimulate local economies, put people back to work, and allow Americans to benefit from time spent outside.

This is why we respectfully ask you to vote “yes” on the Great American Outdoors Act.

GAOA will fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually, providing more recreation access for communities across the country and fueling more outdoor recreation economic activity. In a nutshell, if Congress invests the intended amount of $900 million into LWCF recreation access projects on local, state and federal lands, it will create much-needed close-to-home recreation opportunities while revitalizing the outdoor recreation economy.

Additionally, GAOA dedicates up to $9.5 billion over the next five years to maintenance backlog projects that have been devastating our public lands and waters. Investing in these projects will improve outdoor recreation-related facilities such as docks, restrooms, campgrounds, trails, roads and more that have deteriorated significantly from decades of underfunded maintenance. As business leaders, we understand the need to make sure customers have good experiences when they visit stores or facilities, it ensures they come back again. Funding the maintenance backlog will also ensure that adequate infrastructure for all types of recreation on our public lands and waters exists so more people who are seeking the benefits the outdoors has to offer can get outside safely and grow our industry sustainably.

Passing GAOA now would stimulate the outdoor recreation industry made up of thousands of businesses that support communities in all 50 states, support rural economies, create jobs to carry out essential work, and provide opportunities for millions of Americans to recreate on our public lands and waters for generations to come. We know this vital legislation is slated for a vote later this month and we urge you to move as quickly as possible to get this legislation across the finish line. Your support of GAOA is a vote for American jobs and health, community resiliency and the outdoor recreation economy. Thank you for your leadership.

Sincerely,

Airstream, Inc.

Allen Harbor Marine Service

Alta Planning + Design, Inc.

American Land & Leisure

ARAMARK

Arc’teryx Equipment Inc.

Areté Structures, LLC

BA Services, Inc.

Bass Pro Shops

Bell Helmets

Blackburn Design

Blue Springs Marine

Boat Owners Association of the United States

Boat Owners Warehouse

Boats Incorporated

Brunswick Corporation

Burton Snowboarding

Cabela’s

California Land Management

CamelBak

Camperland of Oklahoma

Chaparral Boats, Inc.

CHM Government Services

Chris-Craft

Clark Marine

Cleveland Boat Center

Columbia Sportswear

Correct Craft

Creative Pultrusions

Crestview RV

Dee Zee, Inc.

Delaware North Parks and Resorts

Eagle Claw Fishing Tackle

FB Marine Group

FERA

First Lite

Forest River, Inc.

Forever Resorts

Formula Boats

Fort Sumter Tours

Freedom Boat Club

Galati Yacht Sales

Giro Sport Design

Glacier Guides & Montana Raft

Grand Design RV

Guest Services, Inc.

Hagadone Marine Group

Handout Gloves

Head USA

Hellwig Products Company Inc.

Hemlock Hill RV Sales

Hipcamp

Hoffmaster’s Marina

Hornblower Cruises and Events

Indian Lake Marina, Inc

Indmar Products

K2 Sports

Kampgrounds of America, Inc.

Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.

KEEN, Inc.

Lakeview Marine, Inc.

Leaird’s Underwater Service

LKQ Corporation

Magic Tilt Trailers

Malibu Boats, Inc.

Marina Holdings

Marine Center of Indiana

Maverick Boat Group, Inc.

Morningstar Marinas

Mount Dora Boating Center

N3 Boatworks

Nantahala Outdoor Center

National Outdoor Leadership School

Newmar Corporation

Norfolk Marine Company

Oasis Marinas

Outdoor Research

Patagonia

Petzl America

Plano Synergy

Polaris Inc.

Port Harbor Marine

Priority RV Network

Pure Fishing

Quality Bicycle Products

Rapala USA

Recreation Resource Management

Red’s Meadow Resort

Reed’s Marine, Inc.

Regulator Marine, Inc.

REI

Rendezvous River Sports

Rhino Marking & Protection Systems

Rock Creek Lodge

Santa Barbara Adventure Company

Scuba Educators International

Seirus Innovative Accessories, Inc.

Shimano North America Fishing

Simms Fishing

Skyjacker Suspensions

Smoker Craft

SpiritLine Cruises

SRAM LLC

St. Croix Rods

Subaru of America

Sun RV Resorts

Superior Boat Repair & Sales

Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.

The North Face

The Sportsman

Thor Industries

Tiara Yachts & Tiara Sport

Trek Bikes

Turn 14 Distribution Inc.

VF Corporation

Vista Outdoor

Volvo Penta of the Americas

WARN Industries

Western Spirit Cycling Adventures

Westrec Marinas

WET River Trips

Wildwater River Guides

Winnebago Industries

Xanterra Travel Collection

Yamaha Rightwaters

Yogi Bear's Jellystone Parks

Zebco Brands

The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable promotes the growth of the outdoor recreation economy and outdoor recreation activities and is the leading outdoor recreation coalition with 32 member associations serving over 100,000 businesses. ORR’s members represent America’s hunting, fishing, RVing, biking, hiking, camping, ATVing, diving, horseback and skiing communities among many more.

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