Secretary Ryan Zinke announced on Tuesday the establishment of the “Made in America” Recreation Advisory Committee. The Committee will advise the Secretary of the Interior on partnerships across all public lands, with the goal of expanding access to and improving infrastructure on public lands and waterways.
“The spirit of American innovation and ingenuity is what built our country, and the Interior Department wants that same spirit and energy to resonate within the realm of outdoor recreation on our public lands,” Zinke said on the U.S. Department of Interior’s website.
The announcement is welcomed by the Outdoor Industry Association and the industry as a whole, says Alexander Boian, Vice President of Government Affairs for OIA. He says the OIA is happy that this provides a much-needed forum for the industry.
“If you want to promote the $887 billion outdoor economy and the 7.6 million American jobs in the outdoor economy, you need to protect the places where people go for outdoor recreation,” Boian says.
While it might seem like this could be the end result of the letter OIA sent Trump, Boian says that consideration of this committee has been underway for a while.
The goals of the committee include improving visitor experience and determining fees that are both fair and efficient. According to the press release from Zinke’s office, the committee will also determine how collected fees are spent, including the ones on the proposed fee hike.
OIA has submitted an undisclosed number of names of outdoor industry leaders for Zinke to consider appointing to the committee. Although they wouldn’t release the names, Boian said they are people who understand the issues and worked with OIA in the policy arena.
"OIA nominated individuals who we thought fairly represented the outdoor industry, public lands, and had a firm grasp on the relationship between the two,” Boian adds.