On Tuesday, July 18, NMMA joined Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, members of Congress and members of the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable at the Department of Interior in Washington, D.C., to discuss how public-private partnerships can improve visitor experiences on public lands and waters.
The meeting was followed by a showcase of American-made outdoor recreation equipment as part of ‘Made in America Week’ in D.C. The showcase included boats, RVs, off-road vehicles, fishing gear and more, and was led by Secretary Zinke. In a Fox News opinion editorial that ran Tuesday, Zinke shared his thoughts on American outdoor recreation leading up to the meeting.
NMMA President Thom Dammrich, an ORIR member, opened the meeting by introducing almost 30 opportunities for immediate private investment on public lands totaling more than $80 million, the first wave of potentially thousands more opportunities that will emerge over the next few months if changes can be made to welcome more private investment to enhance recreational experiences on public lands.
“Secretary Zinke’s support of public-private partnerships will help expand access to public lands for outdoor recreation, update recreation sites and reduce the maintenance backlog within our public lands and waters, which aligns perfectly with the needs and interests of the boating industry and our partners in the ORIR,” said Dammrich. “Working with our partners in ORIR we are helping to identify real-world solutions to improve boater access across the country, while generating awareness among key decision makers in Washington of boating’s significant impact in the lives of the American people. We’re proud to be able to showcase the more than 35,000 U.S. businesses that make up the recreational boating industry and speak on their behalf, as we work together to protect boating for the millions of American boaters and the industry that produces the products that help them enjoy the lifestyle they love.”
Public-private partnerships have existed on public lands and waters for more than a century and currently provide an array of services across the country. From the lodges of our national parks to the marinas around the U.S., federal agencies and private industry have a history of working together to provide activities and amenities on public lands. Expanding partnerships would allow Department of Interior staff to focus on welcoming visitors with access and a 21st century experience rather than less mission-focused activities like fee collection and cleaning.
Outdoor recreation is vital to the economic and healthful well-being of America. The industry generates $887 billion in direct spending and supports 7.6 million jobs across all 50 states. In recreational boating alone, there are an estimated 38,400 manufacturing jobs that drive 472,000 marine industry jobs. Recreational boating produces $36 billion in expenditures each year through an estimated 35,000 small businesses.
NMMA thanks its members, Chaparral, Sea Ray and Tracker Boats, and their respective dealers, Hoffmaster’s Marina, Prince William Marine Sales and Bass Pro Shops, for providing boats for the “Made in America” display, which was held at Simón Bolivar Park across from the Department of Interior.