New Hampshire Becomes 16th State to Add Dedicated Outdoor Recreation Office

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The Granite State’s new Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry Development will focus on boosting its workforce, bringing in new business and improving land access.

New Hampshire joins 15 states in creating a division dedicated to promoting the growing outdoor recreation economy, the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs (BEA) announced Thursday. 

Governor Chris Sununu signed the legislation on Sept. 25, establishing the state’s Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry Development within BEA. Outdoor recreation comprises 3.3 percent of the state's GDP, and the move formalizes the state’s commitment to the businesses, natural assets and attractions that make up New Hampshire's outdoor industry, according to the department.

“This office will allow us to better leverage the tremendous outdoor recreation opportunities we have here in the Granite State to not only grow the industry, but attract the workforce of the future,” Sununu said in a statement.

Following New Mexico, Nevada, Wisconsin and Virginia, New Hampshire is the fifth state in 2019 to create a new division dedicated to promoting the outdoor industry, which employs nearly 38,000 people in New Hampshire. Nationwide, the outdoor industry accounted for  $427 billion of GDP in 2017.

BEA Commissioner Taylor Caswell said state leaders throughout the country are still beginning to recognize the value of the outdoor recreation industry.

“The ability to have a position like this, where you can customize to the experience and the needs of your state, is really a valuable thing,” he said. “Outdoor recreation is a huge part of lifestyle, but it’s also part of … our effort to recruit business, workforce, tourists and students, so it’s pretty exciting.”

Recruiting a younger workforce to the state will be a key focus of the office, he said.

“We’re going to utilize [this office] to really marry up what we feel is a very natural combination of recreation assets with a very, very hot economy and continue the trends we’re seeing … in millennial migration,” he said.

Other priorities include attracting outdoor equipment manufacturersincluding boutique businessesand improving access to public land and water. 

People recreating in the state can enjoy skiing, fat biking, kayaking, hiking or engaging in water sports at the coast or in the Lakes Region, Caswell said. 

“When you live here, skiing a few runs or riding single-track on a Thursday afternoon is part of your everyday life,” he said in the news release. 

A job posting for the office’s director will be available in the next four to six weeks. Those interested in applying can do so at nheconomy.com.


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