Office of Outdoor Recreation Established in Massachusetts
For over a year, the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) and its members worked with Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito, Secretary Card, and their staff to establish an office that provides a wide variety of outstanding recreation opportunities. In early December, Massachusetts became the 18th state to establish an Office of Outdoor Recreation (OREC) and has joined Maryland and Arkansas as the most recent states to create an Office of Outdoor Recreation since 2020.
According to the data released in November by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Massachusetts’ outdoor recreation economy grew 24% in the past year and generated $9.5 billion in GDP (1.5% of state GDP) and 93,422 jobs.
Depending on the state, the OREC office is housed in various departments based on a state’s needs. They may have anywhere from 1-4 full-time staff and budgets between $175-400K. Some states have opted to staff ORECs with existing state employees, which require no budget or new hires. The new office will be at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and enhance outdoor recreational opportunities throughout the Commonwealth and its associated economic, environmental, and quality-of-life benefits.
“Because of the pandemic, we are witnessing incredible momentum behind the importance of outdoor recreation, between record-breaking participation, huge increases in economic impact (now measured at $862 billion annually), and new investments and initiatives to build outdoor recreation infrastructure and improve access,” said Chris Perkins, Senior Director, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “Policymakers aren’t always aware of these trends without grassroots efforts to tell these stories—especially from local businesses and residents that value the outdoors. That’s why the Motorcycle Industry Council is so valuable for states’ efforts to establish outdoor recreation offices: it can help identify mutual constituencies, activate local messengers, and connect them to the leaders who need to hear these stories most.”
American Trails Releases 2021-2022 Impact Report
American Trails brings together all trail interests, which include professionals, agencies and nonprofits, and corporate partners. Collectively, they amplify the voice of a diverse trails community by supporting trails organizations, providing trails training, trail fund grant, trail research programs, education, and professional development. American Trails has released its 2021-2022 Impact Report, which provides trail users, managers, and supporters with information on how much American Trails has grown and improved service for all trail users and organizations.
Trail Publications Available Through the FHWA
The Federal Highway Administration is cooperating with the U.S. Forest Service to provide Forest Service publications and videos to the public. The publications offer insight into the planning and decision-making process used to build a successful recreational trails program that focuses on accessibility, safety, and good environmental practices. You can access and request over 90 trail-related publications here. If you need to order printed material, contact Christopher B Douwes, Community Planner, Transportation Alternatives/Recreational Trails Program/Federal Highway Administration.
Recent BLM Activity
- Las Vegas, Nevada – The Las Vegas Field Office temporarily closed certain public lands under its administration from December 10 through December 11, 2022. This action was taken to minimize the risk of potential collisions between racers and spectators for the 2022 SNORE Laughlin Rage at the River OHV Race.
- Carson City, Nevada – The BLM, Sierra Front Field Office seasonal motorized vehicle closure of the Sand Hills Critical Wildlife Area went into effect on Dec. 1, 2022, and will end on April 30, 2023. This habitat area is located 20 miles north of Reno and is located east of Red Rock Road, south of Bedel Flat Road, and west of Bird Springs Road. The annual motorized vehicle closure encompasses approximately 13,300 acres and protects critical winter range habitat for mule deer. Law enforcement will be conducting patrols of the closure boundary to ensure compliance with the closure. Areas outside of this closure remain open to motorized use and the public is encouraged to seek out alternate riding opportunities.
- Las Vegas, Nevada – Recreation fees at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area will increase starting January 1, 2023. The fee increase will establish prices at $20 for passenger vehicles, $8 for bicycles, $25 for individual campsites, $12 for walk-in campsites, and $80 for group campsites. The fee for a Red Rock Canyon Annual Support Pass will increase to $50 per year. Fees will not increase for pedestrians and motorcycles.