Outdoor Recreation Roundtable released the following statement regarding this week’s Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) (link) to support economic development through outdoor recreation.
“The EDA’s announcement of $750 million in funds to support gateway communities’ economies is welcome news for the outdoor recreation community, as we work to help rural communities recover from COVID-19 and grow and diversify their economies,” said Jessica Turner, ORR’s executive director. “Outdoor recreation supports jobs, improves health and increases economic resiliency in rural, and particularly gateway communities, while also contributing greatly to land and water conservation. We applaud the EDA for making this support available and ask that outdoor and outdoor-oriented organizations share this opportunity with community partners around the country.”
ORR educated Congress and the administration on the need for this funding, as communities and businesses reliant on outdoor recreation across the country were impacted by the pandemic. Since Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, ORR and its members have been working with federal and state agencies and partners in the recreation and conservation community to ensure the $750 million is distributed to communities most in need. In June, ORR wrote a letter to the EDA, alongside 42 outdoor recreation and conservation organizations, to advocate for outdoor recreation economies in the next round of EDA funding. The organization said it encourages tourism-dependent communities, states and their offices of outdoor recreation, tribes and other public or private non-profit organizations to apply.
Of the $750 million, $510 million is designated for state tourism grants and $240 million is designated for competitive grants to help communities who have been hard-hit by COVID-related challenges in the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sectors.