New outdoor recreation agency aims to leverage New Hampshire’s natural beauty

By Sarah Downey | The Center Square

The Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry Development included in the new state budget means New Hampshire joins more than a dozen states with a division to specifically focus on that trade.

“New Hampshire’s low tax environment and booming economy are a beacon for business in the northeast,” Gov. Chris Sununu said in a story posted on the website of the National Association of Marine Manufacturers. “This office will allow us to better leverage the tremendous outdoor recreation opportunities we have here in the Granite State to not only grow the industry, but attract the workforce of the future.”

The office will coordinate input from outdoor recreation stakeholders to enhance recreational experiences and tourism, recruit employees, and come up with user and economic impact data to help with investment and long-term planning.

The outdoor recreation business, which employs about 38,000 people in New Hampshire, accounts for 3.3 percent of the state’s GDP, among the highest in the nation.

“We are delighted to see the creation of the Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry Development within New Hampshire’s Department of Business and Economic Affairs,” John Judge, president and CEO of the Appalachian Mountain Club, stated in a news release on the club’s website. “New Hampshire’s iconic mountains, lakes, forests, rivers, and seacoast provide a wide diversity of outdoor pursuits for residents as well as visitors from across the country and around the world.

“These rich outdoor recreation assets are a significant economic driver for the state, and this new office will provide the capacity and coordination necessary to ensure the continued vitality of New Hampshire’s outdoor recreation economy,” Judge continued. “As a long-time recreation stakeholder and provider, AMC is excited about realizing the opportunities such focused and strategic economic development will create.”

The office will operate within the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs. Once appointed, its director will oversee policy and job creation by working with a range of business and economic development partners from all around the state.

Image courtesy of Public domain