Senator Corey Gardner
Att: Betsy Bair
400 Rood Avenue, Suite 220
Grand Junction, CO 31501
Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2015
Dear Senator Gardner:
Please accept this correspondence as our letter of support regarding the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2015 (“the Legislation”). Prior to addressing the specific legislation, a brief summary of each Organization is needed. The Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (“COHVCO”) is a grassroots advocacy organization representing the 170,000 registered OHV users seeking to represent, assist, educate, and empower all OHV recreationists in the protection and promotion of off-highway motorized recreation throughout Colorado. COHVCO is an environmental organization that advocates and promotes the responsible use and conservation of our public lands and natural resources to preserve their aesthetic and recreational qualities for future generations.
The Trail Preservation Alliance (“TPA”) is a 100 percent volunteer organization whose intention is to be a viable partner, working with the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to preserve the sport of trail riding. The TPA acts as an advocate of the sport and takes the necessary action to insure that the USFS and BLM allocate to trail riding a fair and equitable percentage of access to public lands.
Colorado Snowmobile Association (“CSA”) was founded in 1970 to unite the more than 30,000 winter motorized recreationists across the state. CSA has become the voice of organized snowmobiling seeking to advance, promote and preserve the sport of snowmobiling by working with Federal and state land management agencies and local, state and federal legislators. For purposes of this document, COHVCO, TPA and CSA will be referred to as “the Organizations”.
The Organizations vigorously support the Act as it has been our experience that the economic contribution of recreational activity is easily overlooked or badly undervalued in the balancing of multiple uses as part of federal lands planning. Our Organizations have recently been involved in the NEPA process regarding several BLM lands planning processes in Colorado where recreational spending was estimated between $10 & $15 per day for users who are traveling more than 50 miles to access these areas. This simply is not consistent with analysis from any other sources, where estimates exceeded $60-70 per day, resulting in significant undervaluation of total spending when areas experience hundreds of thousands of visitors per year. The Organizations are aware that this recreational spending is critically important to many western states and communities where there are extremely large percentages of federal lands. For many of these areas, revenue derived from recreational activity is critical in providing basic service, such as roads and schools. The Organizations believe that the single document from a credible government agency could provide a high level of consistency in these efforts and avoid issues like this in the future.
The Organizations are very familiar with the Outdoor Industry Association and Western Governors Association reports recently released on these issues. While there is value in this report, the Organizations submit that the single manner that information is provided in limits the value of these documents. The Organizations would hope that spending information be provided in as many different measures as possible, including total spending, per day spending for user groups, tax revenues derived from the activity and total jobs that result. Every forest plan is different in how value is measured and many user groups are experts in information when provided in a particular way.
The Organizations see a high level of value in a single comprehensive document that could be relied on for the valuation of recreation in federal lands planning and hope this legislation would produce such a document. While the Organizations have developed this type of information in Colorado for use in federal lands planning, often this information is simply overlooked in efforts to value recreational activity. In other regions, similar information is simply not available at all. This Legislation would be valuable in Colorado but would be even more valuable in these areas.
If you have questions please feel free to contact Scott Jones, Esq. at 508 Ashford Drive, Longmont, CO 80504. His phone is (518)281-5810 and his email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott Jones, Esq.
COHVCO & TPA Authorized Representative
Director of Operations
Trails Preservation Alliance