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MA Announces New Office of Outdoor Recreation

The State of Massachusetts recently unveiled its new Office of Outdoor Recreation. The new office resides within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretariat and works alongside other state agencies, including the Department of Fish & Game (DFG), the Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR), the Massachusetts Marketing Partnership (MMP), and the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT). Its mission is to “enhance outdoor recreational opportunities throughout the Commonwealth and support the associated economic, environmental, and quality of life benefits they bring.”

“From the Berkshires to the Cape and Islands, the Commonwealth is home to a range of recreational opportunities for both residents and visitors,” said MA Governor Charlie Baker. “The new Massachusetts Office of Outdoor Recreation will help us continue to enhance this growing sector by partnering with engaged and passionate stakeholders.”

Following the establishment of the new Massachusetts Office of Outdoor Recreation, the Commonwealth now joins 17 other states around the country that have created similar offices. Additionally, the office will focus on the following efforts:

  • Coordinating outdoor recreation policy
  • Identifying funding opportunities for programs and infrastructure
  • Enhancing public access and recreation infrastructure
  • Supporting the outdoor recreation economy
  • Advancing equity and access to outdoor recreation opportunities
  • Promoting Massachusetts as a great place to work, live, and enjoy outdoor recreation

According to a 2021 report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the outdoor recreation economy accounted for $9.5 billion in value added to the Massachusetts economy, or 1.5% of the Gross Domestic Product, and 93,422 jobs, which is 2.6% of employment in the Commonwealth. Furthermore, Massachusetts’ outdoor recreation economy grew 24% from 2020 to 2021, a strong indicator of how much residents and visitors alike value the Commonwealth’s outdoor recreational resources. Top sectors by economic value added include boating and fishing; hunting, shooting, and trapping; RVing; climbing, hiking, and tent camping; snow activities, such as skiing and snowshoeing; and motorcycling, ATV riding, and bicycling.