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