Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved bipartisan legislation authored by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) that would direct the Department of Commerce to assess and quantify the contributions to job creation and consumer spending of the outdoor and recreation industry. The Outdoor Recreation's Economic Contributions (REC) Act would ensure that outdoor recreation jobs are counted by the federal government and would be measured as part of the overall GDP, for the first time ever.
Welch introduced the REC Act in March with Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA), Dave Reichert (R-WA), and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).
"Vermont has unparalleled natural beauty that provides Vermonters and tourists year-round opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. The consumer spending that results from that outdoor recreation is an important boost to Vermont's bottom-line. This legislation will ensure we have reliable data to accurately quantify the benefits of this key driver of our economy."
"Outdoor recreation is a critical cornerstone of our economy and brand identity and the Vermont ski industry is enormously grateful for Congressman Welch's leadership in championing this measure to support this vital sector of our economy," said Ski Vermont President Parker Riehle.
"Congressman Welch appreciates the multiple benefits that outdoor recreational activities bring to the economy. Our economy and the environment don't need to be at odds with each other, and this legislation will help to demonstrate that. At a time when it's never been more important to recognize the value of swimmable, drinkable, and fishable waters, this legislation couldn't come soon enough," said Executive Director of Lake Champlain International James Ehlers.
"Tourism is a major part of Vermont's economy and spurring growth in this sector is important to our success. Vermont's outdoor recreation is one of the strongest attributes for living, working and building business in Vermont and having strong data is at the center of ensuring good policy in this area. The Vermont Chamber is pleased that this legislation is moving forward," said President of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce Betsy Bishop.