Representatives of the outdoor recreation industry from Arkansas, Maryland and New Hampshire recently signed the Outdoor Recreation Industry Confluence Accords. The signing, which took place in Little Rock, brings the total number of states in the coalition to 16.
The Confluence of States is a nonpartisan organization that is developing a national platform to grow the outdoor recreation industry, protect the country’s wild places and transform conservation into an engine for economic prosperity, according to a statement from the Arkansas Department of Heritage.
The Confluence Accords embody 12 principles contained in the four pillars of conservation and stewardship, workforce education and training, economic development, and public health and well-being. They were developed in 2018 to promote and advance best practices for all states to sustainably grow their outdoor leisure economies.
The original signatories to the Confluence Accord were outdoor recreation directors from the states of Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming on behalf of their governors. The second signing included Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico and Virginia.
“Outdoor recreation is an important part of any state. Although our landscapes look different, we are committed to the same pillars,” said Colin Robertson, chairman of the Confluence of States and administrator of the Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation. “Leaders from Arkansas, Maryland and New Hampshire have taken the next step to stand with 13 other states and support one another.”
The US Bureau of Economic Analysis reported in November that outdoor recreation accounts for 1.8% of US GDP, generates gross output of $689 billion and supports 4.3 million jobs.
“As ‘The Natural State,’ Arkansas’ signing of the Confluence Accords makes a lot of sense,” said Katherine Andrews, director of the Arkansas Office of Outdoor Recreation. “Our office was established last year by Governor Asa Hutchinson and Secretary of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Stacy Hurst, who both recognized the importance of outdoor recreation to the Arkansas economy, our quality of life and the health of our residents and visitors. We are proud of this step of joining the Confluence of States and look forward to learning from and with our fellow member states.”