Outdoor Recreation Industry Office Now a Part of State Statute

On Thursday, May 20, the Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC) was signed into statute by Governor Jared Polis. While the OREC office has been in existence since 2015, the bill signing ensures there will always be people to steward Colorado’s outdoor economy and protect its finite resources. 

There are many who recognize the invaluable role the outdoors plays in our economy and quality of life. Approximately 92% of Coloradans participate in outdoor recreation each year, contributing to a higher quality of life and making people and communities happier and healthier.

Equally important is the role that Colorado’s outdoors plays in our state economy. Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy generates $37 billion in consumer spending annually. The industry currently supports an estimated 511,000 jobs in Colorado, which amounts to nearly 19% of all jobs in the state. And those who work in the industry have collectively earned over $21 billion in wages and salaries, while those who support it have generated $9 billion in state and local tax revenue.

From business attraction, retention and growth to export strategies and talent development, Colorado’s OREC industry office plays a vital role. Some of the state’s successes include the relocation of VF Corporation joining other outdoor businesses such as Geyser Systems in Montrose, Canfield Bikes in Fruita, and Fantic Bikes and Strava in Denver, reinforcing that Colorado is truly the basecamp for the outdoor recreation industry.

In addition to businesses that have relocated to Colorado, OREC works with Colorado-born companies to export internationally, including Mountainflow Eco-Wax in Carbondale, Trango in Lafayette, Tourig in Golden, Fishski Provisions in Boulder, Moots Cycles in Steamboat Springs, Seismic Skate in Boulder, and Weston Snowboards in Minturn. 

OREC also focuses on workforce development and securing the talent pipeline necessary to attract and retain outdoor recreation companies while also ensuring Coloradans wishing to work in this industry are empowered to do so. 

Through partnerships with Colorado universities and colleges, new degrees and curricula are being developed to meet the needs of our industry. Across the state, there are more than 65 academic programs that ensure Coloradans have access to diverse and inclusive training pathways and life-long learning opportunities that lead to well-paying outdoor recreation industry jobs. OREC’s collaboration with Western Colorado University helped make an Outdoor MBA Program a reality and they continue to increase access through two annual fellowships there. 

CU Boulder’s MENV/ORE Program is the first graduate program to focus on the intersection of economic development, public lands policy, and resilient communities as drivers of the Outdoor economy and the OREC office advises on their program as well.

The work of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office is vital to Colorado’s economy and to the thoughtful cultivation of its outdoor recreation industry. OREC is proud to support the outdoor recreation industry in Colorado and help create a positive business climate that encourages dynamic economic development and sustainable job growth. By securing the office in statute, the state has shown its commitment to the outdoor industry and Colorado’s natural resources, and the staff at OREC are committed to ensuring thoughtful economic growth and on-going stewardship of the industry.

To learn more, visit the Outdoor Recreation Industry Office webpage.