As part of the President’s America the Beautiful Initiative, the Biden-Harris Administration launched an interagency effort, called the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation (FICOR), that will work to create more safe, affordable, and equitable opportunities for Americans to get outdoors.
The FICOR – which includes leaders from the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and Defense – will focus on improving access to nature, expanding outdoor recreation opportunities, and providing the public with improved and more affordable experiences on America’s public lands and waters.
Increasing access to outdoor recreation is one of the six areas of focus outlined in President Biden’s America the Beautiful Initiative. The FICOR will help coordinate policies, facilitate partnerships, and improve implementation on issues such as:
- Investing in resilient recreation infrastructure, such as electric vehicle charging stations, trails, campgrounds, visitor centers, docks, and boating access;
- Bolstering education and career opportunities in conservation, outdoor recreation, habitat restoration, and resource management work, and providing comprehensive visitor information for the hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, birding, climbing, and boating communities;
- Cooperating with State, Tribal, territorial, and local governments, including those in communities near Federal lands and waters; and
- Improving equitable access to Federal lands and waters and creating a welcoming visitor experience in collaboration with private, public, Tribal, and nonprofit organizations.
The launch of the FICOR renews and re-energizes a body that was originally created in 2011 but was suspended by the previous administration. Prior to being suspended, the FICOR successfully launched recreation.gov, helped the Bureau of Economic Analysis begin tracking outdoor recreation as an economic sector, and worked to establish the Every Kid Outdoors Pass.
Outdoor recreation, hunting, fishing, equity, and conservation communities applauded the re-establishment of the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation.
See below for what they’re saying:
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, Chairman, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources: “I’m glad to see the Administration follow the lead of my bipartisan America’s Outdoor Recreation Act to meaningfully invest in our growing outdoor recreation economy and provide economic boosts to our local communities. As Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and a lifelong outdoorsman, I look forward to seeing the positive impacts of FICOR and will continue working with my colleagues to ensure my bipartisan bill becomes law.” [Statement, 7/22/2022]
Adam Cramer, CEO, Outdoor Alliance: “We are so pleased to see FICOR come together to help support the long tradition of Americans recreating on their public lands. Outdoor recreation is important to the millions of Americans getting outside each year and is important for local economic development, especially for rural communities. FICOR will help land managers work together to think about how to improve access to the outdoors for all Americans, address crowding, and promote and enhance outdoor recreation across all different kinds of public land. FICOR will also help the agencies collaborate to address climate change, fund critical programs, and better communicate with visitors, which will benefit everyone who gets outside on public lands and waters. Outdoor Alliance and our partners look forward to working with the committee and the agencies to improve and expand outdoor recreation access.” [Statement, 7/21/22]
Chris Winter, Executive Director, Access Fund: “Outdoor recreation is critical to America’s economy, environment, and health, which is why Access Fund is so thankful for the revitalization of the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation. Protecting America’s climbing and conserving public lands go hand in hand, and the revival of this council is an exciting opportunity to work with the president and federal land agencies to promote our vision for sustainable climbing. Access Fund will be there every step of the way to support the council’s work to make outdoor places more equitable and inclusive, to protect climbing on public lands, and to combat climate change and conserve public lands for future generations.” [Statement, 7/21/22]
Craig Kirby, President and CEO, RV Industry Association: “The revival of FICOR is critical to the $140 billion RV industry and the wider outdoor recreation economy, which has seen extraordinary growth as people prioritize their physical and mental wellbeing by getting outdoors. The increased popularity of RVing and all types of outdoor recreation means greater coordination is needed between federal land and water agencies to provide safe and enjoyable experiences on our national lands for generations to come. FICOR will provide this coordination and ensure recently passed legislation, such as the Great American Outdoors Act, is implemented in a way that will increase access and provide incredible experiences at campgrounds throughout our public lands.” [Statement, 7/21/22]
Dan Forester, Vice President and Chief Conservation Officer, Archery Trade Association: “It is absolutely critical that good public policy is spawned from a close connection with impacted constituencies. FICOR helps to ensure that vital recreational sectors like archery have a prominent voice in impactful discussion at the highest federal levels.” [Statement, 7/21/22]
Erik Pritchard, President and CEO, Motorcycle Industry Council, Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, and Specialty Vehicle Institute of America: “Outdoor recreation not only boosts the American economy, it boosts Americans’ health, but many trails and public lands suffer from maintenance backlogs and infrastructure work delays. Reviving FICOR can help federal agencies work together to address these needs, improving and expanding recreational access to millions of Americans. The powersports industry applauds the Biden administration’s commitment to helping more Americans enjoy the outdoors.” [Statement, 7/21/22]
Eugenie Bostrom, Manager, Recreate Responsibly Coalition: “The #RecreateResponsibly movement has served to communicate important messages about the value of nature and outdoor recreation during a time of unprecedented uncertainty and record visitation to our treasured landscapes. Outdoor recreation is a catalyst for economic growth as well as an opportunity for healing for individuals and communities alike; the coalition has been vital to convening leaders in the outdoor recreation space in order to synthesize messaging and support collaboration since March of 2020, and we applaud the revitalization of FICOR as an important commitment from this administration to continue this collaborative and thoughtful approach.” [Statement, 7/21/22]
Felipe Benitez, Founding Executive Director, Corazón Latino: “The revival of FICOR is a welcomed opportunity to engage the nation with nature. These efforts will help families and communities create experiences and develop meaningful relationships with outdoor environments. They will also help us to preserve and restore natural habitats so that future generations will also have access to these beautiful spaces. Reciprocity is key to our relationship with Madre Tierra: If we care for our Madre Tierra, she will also care for us. Corazón Latino commends the increased coordination across the government agencies and the renewed focus on recreation. We will continue to do our part to expand outdoor opportunities and educate the public on recreating responsibly.” [Tweet, 7/21/2022]
Frank Hugelmeyer, President, National Marine Manufacturers Association and Chairman, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable: “With multiple federal agencies responsible for our nation’s outdoor recreation sites, reviving FICOR to streamline and improve the management of our public lands and waters is a commonsense solution and we thank President Biden and his administration for taking this action. As more Americans continue to gravitate toward outdoor recreation as their primary means of rest and relaxation, it is imperative for Congress to ensure this council’s vital work is not interrupted under future administrations by enshrining FICOR in law.” [Statement, 7/21/22]
Gerry Seavo James, Coalition Lead, Together Outdoors: “Today’s FICOR announcement will help build upon the work underrepresented communities have been doing for years to achieve better access and infrastructure to the outdoors. A welcoming outdoor experience is not guaranteed. The establishment of FICOR will allow our public lands agencies to better align on areas to improve the outdoor experience for all Americans and foster convening spaces for DEI groups to share the challenges and opportunities we know can better be solved for when we all work together.”
Glenn Hughes, President, American Sportfishing Association: “With the public’s interest in fishing and the outdoors remaining high, so is the need for sound management of our federal lands. On behalf of the nation’s $128 billion recreational fishing industry, we thank the Administration for solidifying FICOR and look forward to working with it to support improved coordination among federal land management agencies and ultimately improve access to the outdoors.” [Statement, 7/21/22]
Lee Davis, Executive Director, Oregon State University’s Center for the Outdoor Recreation Economy: “At CORE we work to research and build new and nationally accessible workforce development programs for the 5+ million jobs in the outdoor recreation economy. CORE applauds the administration’s revival of FICOR and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to coordinate with agency leadership to address the critical workforce and research needs of the outdoor recreation economy.” [Statement, 7/21/22]
Lise Aangeenbrug, Executive Director, Outdoor Industry Association: “We are thrilled to see the Biden administration’s continued commitment to the 4.3 million Americans who make a living from the $689 billion outdoor recreation economy. This is especially important today when efforts to revitalize outdoor infrastructure are at an inflection point. Establishing a system of clear communication between key leaders of land and water management agencies is imperative to advance this mutual goal. As more and more people are participating in outdoor recreation than ever before, and extreme weather events are taking their toll on many fragile outdoor infrastructure systems, it is imperative that federal agencies are able to properly coordinate and allocate the necessary investments to meet this challenge. We are hopeful Congress will swiftly pass the Outdoor Recreation Act package to ensure FICOR will become permanent law, guaranteeing its ability to sustain itself regardless of who controls the levers of power in Washington.” [Statement, 7/21/22]
Jackie Ostfeld, Director, Sierra Club Outdoors for All Campaign: “The return of FICOR gives us hope that the Administration’s efforts to expand access to the outdoors will gain ground. The America the Beautiful initiative seeks to provide new opportunities and resources for children, youth and families to forge new connections with the outdoors, regardless of their race, geography or income, and FICOR will play a key role in achieving that. We are excited to see what a revived FICOR can do.” [Statement, 7/21/22]
Jessica Turner, President, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable: “Solidifying FICOR could not have come at a better time to support America’s public lands, waters, and $689 billion outdoor recreation economy. It is critical that federal land and water management agencies work together to address important recreation issues around funding, overcrowding, and climate resiliency, as well as coordinate on the implementation of newly passed measures that will address the maintenance backlog, infrastructure priorities, and distribution of Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars. ORR and its members are ready to partner however we can on solving these challenges together, as well as collectively approaching the many opportunities that are ahead to help everyone access the outdoors and protect our natural resources.” [Statement, 7/21/22]
Maite Arce, President and CEO, Hispanic Access Foundation: “Even as the challenges to accessible outdoor recreation are growing, the need for Latinos to breathe fresh air and enjoy time outdoors is greater than ever. Hispanic Access Foundation welcomes greater coordination between government agencies to address the barriers underserved communities face when recreating outdoors, such as the nature gap, overcrowding, and climate impacts on our treasured coasts and landscapes.” [Statement, 7/21/22]
Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO, The Corps Network: “Maintaining our favorite places to recreate is a big task that requires partnerships and planning. Thank you to the Biden Administration for strengthening FICOR and helping elevate the importance of coordinated, collective efforts in the stewardship of our lands and waters. As the outdoor recreation economy expands, it is critical that we ensure our parks and forests are accessible, can accommodate growing crowds, and are resilient to the effects of climate change. The Service and Conservation Corps community stands ready to support the collaborative work to improve and maintain America’s natural treasures and outdoor recreation assets.” [Statement, 7/21/22]
Matt Gruhn, President, Marine Retailers Association of the Americas: “The recreational boating industry thanks the Biden administration for re-establishing FICOR and assuring that our nation’s Federal Resource Agencies are prioritizing outdoor recreation. FICOR brings together key decision makers who will guide the Federal Government as they support and develop America’s outdoor recreation economy. This focus comes at a crucial time as we work to retain all of the new outdoor recreation enthusiasts we gained during the pandemic, and that is an all-hands-on deck effort.” [Statement, 7/21/22]
Matt Wade, Deputy Director, American Mountain Guides Association: “The American Mountain Guides Association is excited about the establishment of the Federal Interagency Council for Outdoor Recreation to assist with the implementation of the American the Beautiful Initiative and increase access for outdoor recreation, incentivize voluntary conservation, create jobs, and grow local economies – all of which are central to the work of the AMGA. The collaborative power of FICOR will help to increase opportunities for the public to visit America’s public lands with an outfitter or guide, which will in turn build a life-long constituency that can help conserve, connect, and restore lands and waters across the nation that sustain the health of our communities and power local economies.” [Statement, 7/21/22]
Shoren Brown, Interim Executive Director, The Conservation Alliance: “Americans are visiting outdoor spaces and wild places in record numbers in recent years. This demand for recreation is powering the economy of communities near parks, forests and rivers all over the country. The Conservation Alliance and its 270 member companies thank the Administration for recognizing the importance of building the outdoor infrastructure of the future, and establishing the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation.” [Statement, 7/21/22]
Taldi Harrison, Head of Government Affairs, REI Co-op: “Everyone has a stake in the state of the outdoors. Americans across the country increasingly seek time outside for their personal wellbeing and renewal, and for opportunities to connect to their families and communities. As such, outdoor recreation remains an essential force in the U.S. economy, generating $689 billion in economic output annually across rural and urban communities. REI Co-op welcomes the Administration’s robust efforts to coordinate across federal agencies and convene diverse stakeholders to support this growing economic sector and implement policies that advance more inclusive and equitable access to the outdoors, take real climate action, and meet ambitious conservation goals.” [Statement, 7/21/22]