President Signs REC Act: Victory for Climbers

REC Act Victory

Emma Longcope

Just how much does the outdoor recreation industry contribute to our nation’s economy? A hell of a lot. But, unlike other industries, we don't know for sure because the federal government has never quantified outdoor recreation’s economic impact.

Thanks to the work of the Outdoor Industry Association and many of our partners, President Obama just signed the REC Act, which will be a game changer. The Act directs the Bureau of Economic Analysis to quantify just how much the outdoor industry contributes to job creation and consumer spending. The AAC is particularly psyched about this because:

1.) This analysis will provide a way to recognize the environment’s connection to our well-being-- politically, economically and personally. It’s an acknowledgement that the mountains and deserts and recreational landscapes do not exist in a void, but instead are intrinsically connected to our jobs, spending, income, and health.

2.) More information about the importance of recreational activities will help us make a stronger case for the importance of our public land for the economy, as well as for future generations and other species. Keeping our public lands in public hands has become increasingly important in today’s political landscape, and we are optimistic that conservation efforts will rise as a priority when policymakers receive quantified information regarding the recreational value of these wild places.

3.) We advocated for passage of the REC Act, and we’re excited to see our efforts result in action! In February 2016, along with a group of our board members and partners, we climbed Capitol Hill to talk with policymakers and advocate for the places we climb.

As Mark Butler, AAC Board Member and 37-year veteran of the National Park Service, said, “It is critically important for climbers to be represented in public policy at all levels of government. If we are not at the table, our issues will not be considered when the laws and policies affecting climbing are developed.” We will continue our advocacy work in DC and will keep you informed on the evolution of public policy that impacts climbers and the places we love to climb. We ask that you continue raising your voices in support of the places and pursuits at the heart of our AAC community. Cheers!


Banner photo: AAC member Austin Siadak