Virginia joined a growing number of states that have embraced the importance of outdoor recreation by establishing an Office of Outdoor Recreation. Gov. Ralph Northam said the new statewide office will capitalize on a “recession-proof industry” in Virginia. Cassidy Rasnick, deputy secretary of commerce and trade, will serve as director of the office. Agencies working to promote Virginia’s outdoor assets and business climate will provide staffing.
The outdoor recreation office will advocate for the state’s parks and other outdoor activities, and recruit new outdoor businesses, with a focus on manufacturers of outdoor products such as kayaks and bicycles. The state’s outdoor recreation economy employs about 197,000 workers directly, and annually contributes more than $21.9 billion to the economy, Northam said.
Fifteen states across the country now have either offices or task forces dedicated to expanding the outdoor recreation economy, which is growing faster than the economy as a whole.