California Moving Closer to Creating an Office of Outdoor Recreation

Photo by Jordan Pulmano

The state of California is known to many around the world for its beaches, mountains and outdoor destinations. Is now time to create an office within the state to manage and promote these outdoor areas? A bill is currently sitting in the state senate to do exactly that.

Offices of outdoor recreation have been popular throughout the United States, with offices currently sitting in Washington, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Montana, Vermont, North Carolina, and Wyoming, with New Mexico joining soon. Considering California’s high standing among all 50 states regarding outdoor recreation, it may be time to join that team.

In 2018, California’s state assembly passed a bill to establish an Office of Outdoor Recreation (AB1111) but at the last minute, it was vetoed by then-governor Jerry Brown, claiming the Department of Parks and Recreation could handle the job. But supporters of the bill maintain that department already has a lot on their plate with maintaining the infrastructure of state parks. Instead, the Office of Outdoor Recreation would focus on sustainable recreation practices that promote economic development, shaping policies to preserve the state’s pristine landscape, and creating healthy and equitable programs for all Californians to enjoy the outdoors.

Photo by Yang Liu

While the bill is far from the top of the minds of California’s politicians, the bill has received overwhelming support, with only three members of state assembly voting against the bill. Now, it’s up to the state senate to move forward with the office. Will California join the ranks of states with offices dedicated to coordinating and improving outdoor recreation?

California is a juggernaut when it comes to its outdoor recreation industry. In Northern California alone, millions upon millions of out of state visitors come to see places like Yosemite National Park, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Redwood National Park and Mount Shasta. Here are some numbers to show you its impact on the state:

California Outdoor Recreation Economy Generates:

  • 691,000 Direct Jobs
  • $92 BILLION In Consumer Spending
  • $30.4 BILLION In Wages and Salaries
  • $6.2 BILLION In State and Local Tax Revenue

“Communities across California recognize that outdoor recreation supports heath, contributes to a high quality of life and—perhaps most importantly—attracts and sustains employers and families,” said the Outdoor Industry Association. “Investing in outdoor infrastructure attracts employers and active workforces, ensuring those communities thrive economically and socially.”

Will California become the next state to establish an Office of Outdoor Recreation? Only the bureaucrats stand in its way.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California
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