Rep. McLachlan: Outdoor Rec Critical for Colorado’s Economy

Legislation advanced today would create the Outdoor Recreation Industry Office to help drive continued growth in the sector

DENVER, CO—Representative Barbara McLachlan’s bipartisan legislation to create the Outdoor Recreation Industry Office today passed the House Committee on Energy and Environment by a vote of 9-2. 

“Outdoor recreation is critical for Colorado’s economy, and this legislation will sustain and foster this growing industry,” said Rep. McLachlan, D-Durango. “We can do more to support outdoor recreation and the jobs it creates while also protecting the beautiful public lands on which the industry relies. That’s what this bill would do.”

In 2015, the governor formed the Outdoor Recreation Industry Office in the Office of Economic Development. HB20-1191 would cement this office in statute and outline the office’s specific responsibilities and objectives. Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy has grown significantly, but additional support is needed to sustain this growth. 

HB20-1191, which is also sponsored by Representative Matt Soper, R-Delta, calls for the cultivation, promotion, and coordinated development of the outdoor recreation industry in Colorado and for the protection and conservation of public lands, waters, air, and climate. It calls on the state to partner with the outdoor recreation industry to ensure that the industry serves as a good steward of Colorado’s natural beauty. The Office would support the outdoor recreation industry in Colorado by working with state, federal, local governments and nongovernmental organizations to promote economic development, conservation, stewardship, education, workforce training, and public health and wellness.

The outdoor industry accounts for 10 percent of Colorado’s economy, with $37 billion in consumer spending supporting and creating  more than 511,000 jobs. Since 2015, the outdoor recreation office has worked to attract and retain businesses, offered workforce training programs, fostered product manufacturing and entrepreneurialism, and brought high-tech and advanced industries to the state. The Office created the Rural Technical Assistance Program, which leverages state partnerships to further economic development in rural Colorado. It also sponsored the 2019 Colorado Classic, the only all-women professional bike race in the Western Hemisphere.