Despite former California Governor Jerry Brown's kibosh of a bill to create an outdoor recreation office, an advocacy group is stepping up to see the legislation through under the new administration.
Next Monday, California Outdoor Recreation Partnership (CORP) will lead an advocacy and lobbying day called Summit Sacramento to inform lawmakers about the state's $92 billion outdoor recreation economy.
The group is recruiting outdoor businesses, including manufacturers, brands, retailers, and guide groups as well as individuals to support the formation of a state recreation office. If created, California would join 11 other states in the OREC movement. Washington, Oregon, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina, Vermont, Maryland, and Rhode Island already have offices or task forces in place. Maine and New Mexico are also poised to form offices.
“As an outdoor gear brand based in California since 2001, we are excited to be part of a state-based organization that unites our industry," HydraPak President Matt Lyon said. "This is an opportunity to educate and influence our state political leaders about the importance of outdoor recreation participation and access.”
Founded in 2017, CORP members have met with lawmakers and created awareness for the $4.1 billion parks bond that passed in June 2018. Of its other accomplishments, CORP collaborated with lawmakers on the passing of AB 1918, which would have created the Office of Sustainable Outdoor Recreation. With progressive lawmaker Gavin Newsom now governor of California, CORP is confident about future conversations.
“Access to quality Outdoor Recreation should be a right of every Californian," CORP Board Member Steve Barket said. "This is a critical time for the California Outdoor Industry and it’s non-profit allies to organize and advocate for California Public Lands and for improved park access for urban under-parked communities. This is why we formed CORP.”
During Outdoor Retailer Snow Show in January, Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office Director Luis Benitez unveiled the Confluence of States, a joint effort by eight states right now to unify communities and serve as a single voice for the outdoor industry. Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) has been supporting states in their individual and collective efforts.
“The outdoor industry is increasingly a political force in statehouses across the country," Dave Weinstein, OIA state and local policy director, said. "CORP will galvanize our industry and engage lawmakers on meaningful legislation to improve economic development opportunities, increase access, and protect and enhance California’s portfolio of public lands.”
To participate and learn more about CORP, visit californiaoutdoor.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.