Over 100 outdoor businesses from Fortune 500 companies to mom and pop shops including specialty retailers, apparel, gear and vehicle manufacturers, outfitters and guides, campground and marina operators, and more sent a letter to Senate leadership urging swift passage of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) to stimulate the outdoor recreation industry, made up of thousands of small businesses and to provide safe and sustainable recreation access and infrastructure for generations to come.

GAOA would provide a critical boost to what was, before the pandemic, a $778 billion a year industry supporting 5.2 million jobs and accounting for 2.2 percent of U.S. Gross Domestic Product. According to Outdoor Recreation Roundtable’s (ORR)* most recent member survey and dashboard of the sector, 94 percent of outdoor industry businesses have experienced a decrease in sales and 88 percent have laid off or furloughed a portion of their workforce. As these 102 cross-sector companies identify, investment in conservation and recreation are needed to provide business certainty so the outdoor recreation industry can get back to what it does best — grow jobs, support healthy communities, economies and people, and provide more opportunities for everyone to benefit from time spent outside.

“Public lands are incredibly important for providing recreational fishing opportunities throughout the country,” said Glenn Hughes, president of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). “This monumental bill is particularly timely. As the sportfishing industry, along with the country as a whole, continues to recover from the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress can help the long-term recovery of our industry by passing the Great American Outdoors Act.”

“The balance between conserving our public waterways and ensuring robust and responsible access to these cherished natural resources is paramount to the recreational boating community, which is why so many boating industry businesses are standing in support of this historic legislation,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “The Great American Outdoors Act will do more to expand outdoor recreation opportunities than any other legislation in recent years and we call on all members of Congress to swiftly pass this commonsense measure.”

“Maintenance backlogs have led to deteriorated trails and facilities, preventing Americans, including our large community of motorized off-road vehicle users, from participating in healthful outdoor activities at a time when we need it most,” said Erik Pritchard, president and CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Council, Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America. “The GAOA would ensure that access and infrastructure on public lands and waters are restored so that families and recreationists can enjoy the outdoors safely and close to home. This would also provide a much needed boost to local businesses that support these activities.”

“The passage of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) means so much more than simply restoring our national parks. For literally millions of small businesses located in gateway communities near these national treasures, including private RV parks and campgrounds, it means increases in Americans recreating and supporting the success of all businesses that make up the outdoor recreation industry,” said Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC). Because of this, ARVC is proud to stand with the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable in calling on Congress to pass the important bipartisan GAOA.”

“As national parks and forests across the country look to safely reopen, it’s gratifying that Congress is recognizing the need to direct funds toward critical deferred maintenance needs and campground modernization on our public lands and waters,” said Craig Kirby, president of the RV Industry Association. “We are grateful that Congress is addressing these issues through this landmark legislation that supports outdoor recreation and conservation in our most treasured lands for generations to come.”

“Our entire industry is behind this — from skiers to snowmobilers, hunters to hikers, campers to RVers and climbers to motorcyclists,” said Jessica (Wahl) Turner, executive director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR). “Businesses have been making calls, running sign-on campaigns and sending letters. This unity shows the amazing work that has been done to get us to where we are on this once-in-a-generation legislation. In the next week, Congress has the opportunity to do something that truly outlasts their time in office and that will benefit the nation for decades to come.”

Full text of the outdoor businesses’ letter and the list of signees is included below:

Dear Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer:

June 8, 2020

The outdoor recreation industry is extremely encouraged by recent announcements that the Senate plans to hold a vote on the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) in June. As outdoor recreation business leaders, we know investments in recreation access and infrastructure are vital to the outdoor recreation industry and economies across the country.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the outdoor recreation industry contributed $778 billion in economic output, accounted for 2.2 percent of United States Gross Domestic Product, supported 5.2 million jobs and was growing faster than the economy as a whole in every indicator. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdowns necessary to slow its progression, America’s outdoor recreation economy was hindered when we needed the outdoors more than ever. Outdoor Recreation Roundtable’s April survey of the sector shows that 79 percent of outdoor businesses have had to lay off or furlough employees, and 89 percent are seeing decreased revenue. However, we know there is a bright future for outdoor recreation ahead, as several sectors of the industry are already experiencing rapidly increasing demand.

These outdoor businesses are the backbone of our industry and range from specialty retailers, apparel, gear and vehicle manufacturers, outfitters and guides to campground and marina operators. They are often foundational to a community’s economy. With rising unemployment and Americans eager to experience the outdoors, investment in our industry’s core infrastructure – public lands and waters – will allow our businesses to get back to what we do best — stimulate local economies, put people back to work, and allow Americans to benefit from time spent outside.

This is why we respectfully ask you to pass the Great American Outdoors Act as soon as possible.

GAOA will fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually, providing more recreation access for communities across the country and fueling more outdoor recreation economic activity. In a nutshell, if Congress invests the intended amount of $900 million into LWCF recreation access projects on local, state and federal lands, it will create much-needed close-to-home recreation opportunities while revitalizing the outdoor recreation economy.

Additionally, GAOA dedicates up to $9.5 billion over the next five years to maintenance backlog projects that have been devastating our public lands and waters. Investing in these projects will improve outdoor recreation-related facilities such as docks, restrooms, campgrounds, trails, roads and more that have deteriorated significantly from decades of underfunded maintenance. As business leaders, we understand the need to make sure customers have good experiences when they visit stores or facilities, it ensures they come back again. Funding the maintenance backlog will also ensure that adequate infrastructure for all types of recreation on our public lands and waters exists so more people who are seeking the benefits the outdoors has to offer can get outside safely and grow our industry sustainably.

Passing GAOA now would stimulate the outdoor recreation industry made up of thousands of businesses that support communities in all 50 states, support rural economies, create jobs to carry out essential work, and provide opportunities for millions of Americans to recreate on our public lands and waters for generations to come. We know this vital legislation is slated for a vote in the coming weeks and we urge you to move as quickly as possible to get this legislation across the finish line. Your support of GAOA is a vote for American jobs and health, community resiliency and the outdoor recreation economy. Thank you for your leadership.


Airstream, Inc.
Alta Planning + Design, Inc.
Arc’teryx Equipment Inc.
Arete? Structures, LLC
Bass Pro Shops
Bell Helmets
Blackburn Design
Blue Springs Marine
Boat Owners Association of the United States
Boat Owners Warehouse
Boats Incorporated
Brunswick Corporation
Camperland of Oklahoma
Chaparral Boats, Inc.
CHM Government Services
Clark Marine
Cleveland Boat Center
Correct Craft
Creative Pultrusions
Crestview RV
Dee Zee, Inc.
Delaware North Parks and Resorts
Eagle Claw Fishing Tackle
Forest River, Inc.
Forever Resorts
Formula Boats
Fort Sumter Tours
Freedom Boat Club
Galati Yacht Sales
Giro Sport Design
Glacier Guides & Montana Raft
Grand Design RV
Guest Services, Inc.
Hagadone Marine Group
Handout Gloves
Head USA
Hellwig Products Company Inc.
Hemlock Hill RV Sales
Hornblower Cruises and Events
Indian Lake Marina, Inc
Indmar Products
K2 Sports
Kampgrounds of America, Inc.
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.
Lakeview Marine, Inc.
LKQ Corporation
Magic Tilt Trailers
Malibu Boats, Inc.
Marina Holdings
Marine Center of Indiana
Maverick Boat Group, Inc
Mount Dora Boating Center
N3 Boatworks
Nantahala Outdoor Center
National Outdoor Leadership School
Newmar Corporation
Petzl America
Plano Synergy
Polaris, Inc.
Port Harbor Marine
Priority RV Network
Pure Fishing
Quality Bicycle Products
Rapala USA
Reed’s Marine, Inc.
Regulator Marine, Inc.
Rendezvous River Sports
Rhino Marking & Protection Systems
Santa Barbara Adventure Company
Seirus Innovative Accessories, Inc.
Shimano North America Fishing
Simms Fishing
Skyjacker Suspensions
Smoker Craft
SpiritLine Cruises
St. Croix Rods
Sun RV Resorts
Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.
The North Face
Tiara Yachts & Tiara Sport Trek Bikes
Trek Bikes
Turn 14 Distribution Inc.
VF Corporation
Vista Outdoor
Volvo Penta of the Americas
WARN Industries
Westrec Marinas
WET River Trips
Wildwater River Guides
Winnebago Industries
Xanterra Travel Collection
Yamaha Rightwaters
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Parks
Zebco Brands

*Outdoor Recreation Roundtable promotes the growth of the outdoor recreation economy and outdoor recreation activities and is the leading outdoor recreation coalition with 32 member associations serving over 100,000 businesses. ORR’s members represent America’s hunting, fishing, RVing, biking, hiking, camping, ATVing, diving, horseback and skiing communities among many more.