ORIR Leaders Meet with USDA Under Secretary, Find Partnership and Better Infrastructure Messages Welcomed

ORIR Leaders Meet with USDA Under Secretary, Find Partnership and Better Infrastructure Messages Welcomed

A delegation of Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable (ORIR) organization leaders delivered a blend of praise and challenges to the USDA’s Acting Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment, Dan Jiron, and a key group of department officials on November 21. The ORIR group underscored the importance of national forests to many recreational activities and the world-class experiences provided to anglers and skiers, hikers and campers, boaters and motorized trail enthusiasts. The group also noted that many forest recreation sites rely on outdated and inadequate infrastructure. They told the Under Secretary that partnerships in recreation experiences are key to long-term capacity and quality.

The Under Secretary expressed agreement and a commitment to moving quickly to improve recreation experiences in the forests. He assured the group that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is a strong advocate for outdoor recreation and invited the group to view his recent message regarding the national forests here.

He underscored the economic importance of recreation to prosperity in rural areas of the nation and invited ideas for ways to overcome communications problems that stifle interest from many urban, younger Americans. He listened with interest as the ORIR representatives described actions to modernize campgrounds and marinas and to utilize broadband in frontcountry areas to deliver interpretation and education – and allow forest visitors to share fun experiences with friends.

A full report on the meeting will be posted soon, including discussions regarding use of recreation fees and better and up-to-date information about national forest recreation opportunities. The meeting ended with an agreement to plan further discussions involving the department and its recreation partners focusing on action steps and overcoming barriers to partnerships.

Organizations taking part in the meeting included the American Sportfishing Association, Boat Owners Association of The United States, National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, Motorcycle Industry Council, American Recreation Coalition and the Great Outdoors Month Council.