Massachusetts created an Office of Outdoor Recreation headquartered in the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs. It is the 18th state in the nation to do so.
“From the Berkshires to the Cape and Islands, the Commonwealth is home to a range of recreational opportunities for both residents and visitors,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The new Massachusetts Office of Outdoor Recreation will help us continue to enhance this growing sector by partnering with engaged and passionate stakeholders.”
“Outdoor recreation is a consistent economic driver for communities throughout the Commonwealth, creating jobs and supporting small businesses,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our world-class parks, beaches and trails attract visitors from all across the world, and the creation of this office will promote collaboration between local communities, outdoor businesses, and the Commonwealth on expanding these opportunities even further.”
The office will focus on the following—coordinating outdoor recreation policy; identifying funding opportunities for programs and infrastructure; enhancing public access and recreation infrastructure; supporting the outdoor recreation economy, advancing equity and access to outdoor recreation opportunities, promoting Massachusetts as a great place to work, live, and enjoy outdoor recreation.
“Whether it’s a weekend camping trip with the family, a bike ride with friends, or a hike through a state park, spending time outdoors is beneficial to our physical and mental wellbeing,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Beth Card. “Importantly, the Massachusetts Office of Outdoor Recreation will be a vital asset that will work to ensure these types of opportunities and more are widely available to all residents and visitors in the Commonwealth, focusing especially on our Environmental Justice communities.”
According to a 2021 report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the outdoor recreation economy accounted for $9.5 billion in value added to the Massachusetts economy or 1.5 percent of the GDP, and 93,422 jobs, which is 2.6 percent of employment for the state, and Massachusetts’ outdoor recreation economy grew 24 percent from 2020 to 2021. Top sectors by economic value added include boating and fishing, hunting, shooting and trapping, RVing, climbing, hiking and tent camping, skiing and snowshoeing, motorcycling, ATVing and cycling.
Massachusetts joins Maryland and Arkansas as the most recent states to create an Office of Outdoor Recreation since 2020.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2021, the outdoor recreation industry brought $862 billion to the economy (1.9 percent of GDP) and created 4.5 million jobs.