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Industry representative talks small business with Congress

John Wooden, founder and owner of Minnesota-based River Valley Power and Sport recently testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business. The hearing – titled “Force of Nature: The Power of Small Businesses in America’s Recreational Infrastructure” – served as a platform to examine the economic impact of outdoor recreational infrastructure, how small businesses contribute to the industry, and how the federal government can ensure the industry continues to positively impact the economy through a comprehensive infrastructure package.

“Just last month, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released an updated report reaffirming the outdoor recreation’s role as a significant economic driver. This newly released economic data on the national and, for the first time ever, state levels reinforce what the outdoor recreation industry has long believed – outdoor recreation is a powerful driver of national and local economies and it is growing faster than the U.S. economy as a whole,” said John Wooden. “The federal government manages hundreds of millions of acres of public lands [and] waters that offer unparalleled opportunities for variety of recreational activities. These recreation assets… are integral to keeping the outdoor industry open for business.”

Mr. Wooden’s full testimony is available here.

“With more than 146 million Americans across the nation—nearly half of the U.S. population—participating each year in activities such as hiking, fishing, skiing, rafting, and biking, outdoor recreation is among the largest and fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. economy,” said Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY-07). “This industry is fueled by small businesses and creates jobs in communities across the country; it’s up to us in Congress to support these small firms. This responsibility includes making sure that public lands are healthy and air and water are clean.”

“Enjoying the outdoors is one of the nation’s most cherished hobbies. From small children running in backyards to retirees motoring across the country in RVs, Americans love outdoor recreation,” said Ranking Member Steve Chabot (R-OH-01). “From a jobs perspective, the [outdoor recreation] industry employed over five million workers in 2017. It is no surprise that many of these workers are employed by small businesses.”

The economic prosperity of the nation is impacted by the growing recreational and tourism sector, which is served by many small businesses. As Congress contemplates an infrastructure package, it is important to consider the outdoor recreational infrastructure, which produced $427.2 billion in gross economic output and supported over 5.1 million jobs nationwide in 2017.

A video of the hearing is available here.

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