On the heels of U.S. Secretary of Department of Interior Ryan Zinke’s announced resignation, the RV Industry Association thanks the Secretary for the progress made during his tenure to improve the outdoor experiences for consumers and RVers alike. Moving forward, the Association looks forward to working with the Department of Interior, and other federal agencies, to continue the important work of finding common sense solutions to improving access to public lands.
During the past two years, Interior has worked with Members of Congress to prioritize addressing the $11 billion maintenance backlog, including needed campground modernization, a focus of RVIA. The Department of Interior also funded the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) study which found that outdoor recreation contributes an astounding 2.2 percent to the U.S. GDP.
Following a Made in America Outdoor Recreation Showcase in July 2017, Interior announced the formation of the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Council, including three members of the RV industry (a stakeholder voice that has been missing in the 200 Interior advisory councils), to advise the Secretary of the Interior on public-private partnerships across all public lands, with the goal of expanding access to and improving infrastructure on public lands and waterways.
Zinke also signed two secretarial orders to prioritize the Department of Interior’s recreation mission, and directed each bureau to appoint a lead on developing plans to expand recreational opportunities on public lands.
Working with Interior, the RV industry was able to begin addressing the significant problem, according to RVIA, of providing safe and comfortable housing for National Park Service staff at a reasonable cost through a pilot program using park model RVs (PMRV). A pilot program, that if successful, could lead to PMRVs being purchased for use throughout the 417 national parks across the country.
The progress made to prioritize outdoor recreation on public lands would not have been possible without the leadership of Zinke, according to RVIA.