New Hampshire followed in the footsteps of 15 other states by creating its own office of outdoor recreation, signed into legislation on Thursday by Gov. Chris Sununu.

“New Hampshire’s low tax environment and booming economy are a beacon for business in the northeast,” Sununu said in a formal announcement. “This office will allow us to better leverage the tremendous outdoor recreation opportunities we have here in the Granite State to not only grow the industry, but attract the workforce of the future.”

The Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry Development will be housed within the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs (BEA). Currently, the state's outdoor industry employs about 79,000 people and generates $8.7 billion in consumer spending annually, according to Outdoor Industry Association (OIA). 

All year, OIA made lobby visits to Concord, New Hampshire, organized letters of support for the OREC, and worked with NEMO Equipment, the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Northern Forest Center, and others to place op-eds and ensure the office's creation.

“As a New Hampshire-based outdoor company, NEMO is thrilled the state will join the growing movement of creating outdoor recreation offices across the nation,” said Cam Brensinger, founder and CEO of NEMO Equipment, and member of the board of directors for OIA. "...I look forward to working with the New Hampshire OREC director to grow our state’s industry and economy, promote the social and health benefits of outdoor recreation, and inspire new generations to access the many benefits of going outside.”

Virginia was the latest state to establish an office in July. These state offices are aligning industry, government, and educational institutions to grow and leverage the outdoor recreation economy.  

States with offices: Washington, Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Carolina, Maine, New Mexico, Michigan, Nevada, Wisconsin, Virginia, New Hampshire

States with task forces: Vermont and Maryland

The director position will open as soon as the BEA formally sets up the newly created office in Concord. The director's responsibilities will include coordinating policy and promoting job growth through collaboration.

Is California next? Or will another state become the 17th with an office?