A member-led collective and the outdoor industry’s catalyst for meaningful change, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) will gather in our nation’s capital April 18-19, 2023, to galvanize outdoor industry leaders, policymakers, and elected officials to advocate for critical issues facing the outdoor economy, outdoor participation, and the planet.
During the two-day event, attendees will meet directly with members of Congress and other administration officials to discuss critical legislation that supports the entirety of the outdoor recreation economy, including key topics like trade, climate, access, and equity. Speakers at Capitol Summit include Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres-Small, and more.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity for the outdoor industry to be heard,” said Kent Ebersole, President of OIA. “Since our last Capitol Summit in 2019, more than 10 million Americans participated in outdoor recreation for the first time, or for the first time in years. This increase in the number of people spending time outside was not a moment in time for managing stress from lockdown during a global pandemic. We witnessed a multi-generational mind shift around the physical, mental, and emotional health benefits of spending time in nature, as over half of the U.S. population flocked to the outdoors. This massive spike in participation led to greater spending within the outdoor recreation economy, to a whopping $862 billion in 2021, accounting for 1.9 percent of GDP and a record-breaking 4.5 million jobs in the U.S.,” said Ebersole.
Throughout the OIA Capitol Summit, industry leaders will urge Congress to pass America’s Outdoor Recreation Act, the largest comprehensive package of recreation bills in a generation that helps ensure that the outdoors are open and accessible to all Americans. Attendees will also work to fuel the innovation and job growth of outdoor businesses by supporting the passing of a package of miscellaneous tariff bills (MTBs) and renewing the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).
Continuing to fight on behalf of the planet and the natural landscapes which so many outdoor activities are dependent upon, Capitol Summit attendees will advocate for greater climate action, conservation and sustainable economic growth while also showing support for state-based offices of outdoor recreation and increased investments in the outdoors at the state and local levels.
As part of the Capitol Summit, OIA will present The Friend of the Outdoor Industry Award to members of Congress in recognition of their legislative leadership around outdoor recreation and their dedication to supporting the outdoor industry. This year, The Friend of the Outdoor Industry Award will be presented to Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE), and Representative Nanette Barragán (D-CA).
OIA will also host the Thrive Outside Community Gathering, an event centered around outdoor access, equity, and inclusion at Anacostia Park. Hosted by Friends of Anacostia Park, Outdoor Industry Association, and Outdoor Foundation, the event will highlight how the outdoor industry and community organizations are working together to erode the barriers to outdoor access through a collective impact model.
“The OIA Capitol Summit is not simply a two-day long convening to talk policy with elected officials. It’s a time for the outdoor industry to get together, to be reminded of our common goals and values, and to get inspired to kick off a year of activation and advocacy across the federal and state levels. More than ever, with urgency and swift action, OIA is committed to using our “outside voice” to advocate for balanced trade policy; sustainable business solutions; and expanded, safe access to the outdoors for this generation and many more to come,” added Ebersole.
About the Outdoor Industry Association
Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry. For more than 30 years, OIA has served as the trusted convenor, resource, and voice of the outdoor industry. OIA unites and serves manufacturers, suppliers, sales representatives, and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business innovation, and outdoor participation. The association provides its members with insights, advocacy, and opportunities for action that support the long-term success of outdoor businesses and ensure the outdoor experience for all. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org