Minnesota is inching closer to establishing an outdoor recreation office, following recent advancements of legislation introduced by Representative Jim Davnie (HF 2220) and Senator Carrie Ruud (SF 2237). Creating state outdoor recreation offices is a top NMMA priority, which the association has supported as a leading member of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR).
Outdoor recreation is a vital part of the economy, generating 2.2 percent of total U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). In Minnesota, outdoor recreation is an economic powerhouse which generates nearly $16.7 billion in consumer spending, contributes $1.4 billion in state and local tax revenue and supports 140,000 Minnesota jobs. An Outdoor Recreation Office in Minnesota would provide a focal point for all stakeholders to engage a new and diverse generation of Minnesotans with the outdoors while focusing on growing local economies and communities through recreation.
In the House, the bill passed through its respective committees and was included in the House Environment and Natural Resources omnibus bill (HF 2209) put forth by Chairman Hansen. Last week, the omnibus bill passed through appropriate finance committees and is ready to be brought to the House floor. In late April, the omnibus package will be brought before the House and is expected to pass, sending the bill to be conferenced with the Senate. The conference process is expected to begin late April or early May.
In addition to Minnesota, ORR and NMMA are working with states across the nation to create outdoor recreation offices. Most recently, New Mexico’s Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill 462 creating their Outdoor Recreation Division. New Mexico is the 13th state nationwide create an office dedicated to outdoor recreation.