Office of Outdoor Recreation Clears the Assembly

California’s Recreation Rallying Call
April 20, 2019

Via Assemblymember Laura Friedman:

May 31, 2019

SACRAMENTO –  Yesterday, the legislature moved one step closer towards making California’s first Office of Outdoor Recreation a reality. Assembly Bill 1111, authored by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), creates an Office of Outdoor Recreation in order to bring California’s booming outdoor recreation sector, outdoor advocates, and local governments together in order to promote education, health, and economic development. The bill passed with bipartisan support on a vote of 72-3.

“We have so much to be grateful for in California including our beautiful natural lands, robust business sectors, a culture that values health and equity and a willingness to work together,” said Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale). “With an Office of Outdoor Recreation, we could fully take advantage of our great potential for economic growth while promoting environmental stewardship, education, and equitable access to the outdoors.”

AB 1111 recognizes the significance of our state’s outdoor recreation sector. Over $92 billion comes into the state’s economy because of outdoor recreation spending and activity and is directly responsible for 690,000 jobs. The state is also home to millions of square miles of natural lands and habitats including iconic national parks such as Yosemite, Sequoia, and Joshua Tree.

Under an Office of Outdoor Recreation, stakeholders and experts would work together to create programs and initiatives in order to capitalize on our assets while encouraging conservation, increasing economic development, and growing outdoor recreation opportunities while ensuring more equitable access to our parks.

“California’s outdoor recreation sector is the largest in the nation, generating $92 billion in consumer spending annually and supporting almost 700,000 jobs. REI alone buys product from over 300 California companies. We have 28 stores, thousands of employees, and millions of co-op members. At the same time, not everyone has the chance or means to enjoy California’s beauty,” commented Marc Berejka, REI’s Director of Government and Community Affairs. “California’s recreation landscape is made up of an array of city, county and state parks as well vast federal lands. A California office of outdoor recreation would be able to holistically work on growing the entire recreation sector — by increasing participation, advocating for investment and removing barriers to access. It would improve the health and wellbeing of everyone, and every community in the state.”

“California is home to some of the most diverse and unique natural wonders in the country and the world. It is no wonder why the state represents the largest recreation economy in the nation,” said David Weinstein, State and Local Policy Director for the Outdoor Industry Association, “We applaud Assemblymember Friedman’s leadership in ushering AB 1111 through the Assembly, and look forward to working with the State Senate and Governor Newsom’s administration to make the Office of Outdoor Recreation a reality.”

The measure now heads to the State Senate for consideration. If signed into law by Governor Newsom, the bill would take effect on January 1, 2020.

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