Baker-Polito Administration Launches Massachusetts Workplace of Outside Recreation

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PRINCETONThat The Baker-Polito Administration, along with state and local officials and industry leaders at the Wachusett Mountain ski area, today celebrated the establishment of the new Massachusetts Office of Outdoor Recreation, fto reaffirm its commitment to outdoor recreation. TThe new office opened today by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito is based at the Executive Office for Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretariat and will work with government agencies including the Department of Fish and Game (DFG), the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the Massachusetts Marketing Partnership (MMP) and the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT) to improve outdoor recreation opportunities across the Commonwealth and support the associated economic, environmental and quality of life benefits.

“From the Berkshires to the Cape and Islands, the Commonwealth offers a range of recreational opportunities for residents and visitors,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The new Massachusetts Office of Outdoor Recreation will help us continue to strengthen this growing sector by working with dedicated and passionate stakeholders.”

“Outdoor recreation is an enduring economic engine for communities across the Commonwealth, creating jobs and supporting small businesses,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our world-class parks, beaches and trails attract visitors from around the world, and the establishment of this office will encourage collaboration between local communities, outdoor businesses and the Commonwealth to expand these opportunities even further.”

With the establishment of the new Massachusetts Office of Outdoor Recreation, the Commonwealth now joins 17 other states across the country that have established similar offices. In addition, the office focuses on the following efforts:

  • coordination of outdoor leisure policy;
  • Identification of funding opportunities for programs and infrastructure;
  • improving public access and recreation infrastructure;
  • supporting the outdoor leisure economy;
  • promoting equity and access to outdoor recreation; and,
  • Promoting Massachusetts as a great place to work, live and relax outdoors.

“Whether it’s a weekend camping trip with family, a bike ride with friends, or a hike through a state park, spending time outdoors is good for our physical and mental well-being.” said Secretary of Energy and Environment Beth Card. “Importantly, the Massachusetts Office of Outdoor Recreation will be a key asset in ensuring these types of opportunities and more are available to all Commonwealth residents and visitors, with a particular focus on our environmental justice communities. “

According to a 2021 report by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the outdoor recreation economy accounted for $9.5 billion in value added to the Massachusetts economy, or 1.5% of gross domestic product, and 93,422 jobs, accounting for 2.6% of the Employment in Massachusetts is equivalent to Commonwealth. Additionally, Massachusetts’ outdoor recreation economy grew 24% from 2020 to 2021, a strong indicator of how much residents and visitors alike value the Commonwealth’s outdoor recreation resources. Top sectors by economic value added are boating and fishing; hunting, shooting and trapping; Camper; rock climbing, hiking and tent camping; snow activities such as skiing and snowshoeing; and motorcycling, ATV riding and bicycling.

“The establishment of the Office of Outdoor Recreation is a major step forward for Massachusetts, a state that offers a wide variety of excellent recreational opportunities,” said Jessica Wahl Turner, President of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “Outdoor recreation in Massachusetts has grown 24% over the past year and has helped create jobs, support rural communities and promote conservation of the Commonwealth’s natural resources. We thank the Commonwealth of Massachusetts — including Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito, and Secretary Card — for their leadership in recognizing the importance of outdoor recreation, and we look forward to working with them to ensure residents and visitors alike, across generations benefit from access to outdoor recreation Come on.”

“Massachusetts is a beautiful state and we want people to know what there is to do in the great outdoors,” said Keiko OrralExecutive Director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. We look forward to this opportunity to draw attention in this room.”

“As a supporter of the legislation that created this office and the Living, Representing and Recreating at the Central Fair, I am thrilled that it is becoming a reality.” said State Senator Anne M. Gobi, co-chair of the Massachusetts Sportsmen’s Caucus (D-Spencer). “People of all abilities want to enjoy all that Massachusetts has to offer. This focus of bringing together so many different agencies, companies, private and public entities will bring a new spirit of adventure and pleasure.”

“Building partnerships in support of outdoor recreation is critical to a vibrant 21st century economy and high quality of life in central Massachusetts and every corner of the state,” said state Senator John J. Cronin (D-Leominster). I am grateful to the Baker-Polito administration for their leadership and vision in creating this office.”

“I am delighted to take part in this announcement today and appreciate the Government’s commitment to promoting and supporting outdoor recreation in the Commonwealth,” said State Representative Kimberly Ferguson (R-Holden). “I look forward to working with this new office! What better way to start this initiative than being on Wachusett Mountain on this beautiful day – a prime example of the many opportunities and benefits that outdoor recreation has to offer.”

“Studies have shown that the outdoor recreation industry drives local economies, but the benefits go well beyond revenue generation.” said State Representative Natalie M. Blais (D-Sunderland). “Expanding the outdoor recreation sector can also improve health outcomes, raise awareness of the impact of climate change on our natural environment, and potentially shift demographics as residents seek to live in areas of the Commonwealth with year-round outdoor activities and to work.”

“The Appalachian Mountain Club commends the Baker Polito administration for establishing the first outdoor recreation office in Massachusetts. We celebrate the state’s efforts to support rural and urban communities and strengthen local economies by increasing equitable access to outdoor recreation,” said Susan Arnold, interim president and CEO of the Appalachian Mountain Club.

“Massachusetts is consistently ranked as the state with the highest quality of life in the country. The Massachusetts Office of Outdoor Recreation will help raise that standard for residents and visitors alike. From the coast to the mountain peaks, there is a diversity of landscapes, environments, people and organizations to discover. Linking these together and telling the right story will bring a significant benefit to our beautiful state.” said Jon Schaefer, CEO of Berkshire East Mountain Resort, Zoar Outdoor and Catamount Mountain Resort. “Thank you to the Baker-Polito administration and the countless organizations and elected officials who have helped move this initiative forward.”

“Skiing and other outdoor sports in Massachusetts are more than just hobbies, they are multi-generational activities that are part of our heritage. The Massachusetts ski industry provides thousands of jobs for residents of all ages and creates opportunities for people to recreate close to where they live and work.” said Jeff Crowley, CEO of Wachusett Mountain Ski Resort. “Spending time outside, in the beauty of the mountains, brings us together.”

“Recognizing the critical importance that outdoor recreation plays to both the state and national economies, we are pleased to support the establishment of the Massachusetts Office of Outdoor Recreation.” said Randall Lyons, executive director of the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association. “The Massachusetts recreational boating industry contributes over $4 billion to the state economy and employs over 20,000 men and women within the state. For every $1 spent on temporary docking, that equates to nearly $4 for the local community where the visiting boater is docked. Boaters help boost the economy by spending money on groceries, restaurants, lodging, fuel and more.”

“The Trustees welcome the formation of the Massachusetts Office of Outdoor Recreation. We look forward to working with this office to promote the benefits and joys of being outdoors, as people who love nature will unite to nurture it.” said interim president and CEO Nicie Panetta. “Residents who regularly spend time outdoors are more likely to become lifelong stewards of our state’s precious landscapes and help ensure their beauty and ecological health for generations to come.”

“From popular travel destinations like the Inner Harbor Islands and Berkshires to boardrooms, retail outlets and manufacturers, Massachusetts’ $9.5 billion outdoor recreation industry touches almost every aspect of our lives.” said Sonny Russell, Northeast Regional Retail Director for REI Co-op. “We applaud the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to the future of outdoor recreation and the health, economic and social benefits of outdoor living.”

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