Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced the creation of a new agency on July 18, 2019, that will advocate for Virginia’s parks and other outdoor activities. It also will work to recruit new outdoor businesses, such as bicycle manufacturers. The outdoor recreation industry contributes nearly $22 billion annually to the Virginia economy, and employs more than 197,000 Virginians. Virginia will be the 15th state in the nation to establish an office or task force dedicated to strengthening the outdoor industry, and the third on the East Coast.
This is an important step in recognizing the importance of the outdoor industry. As the government’s statement indicated, this effort will help to improve economic growth while aligning with Virginia’s goals on land conservation, workforce development, and public health.
FABB believes that such an effort also underlines the importance of building a trails network in Fairfax County and the larger DC metro area to connect parks and increase access to outdoor recreation facilities. We are proud to working with the Capital Trails Coalition to help achieve this goal. Such a network will make northern Virginia an even more desirable location for visitors and outdoor recreation industry businesses.
To learn more about Virginia’s outdoor recreation industry, or the Office of Recreation, please visit www.governor.virginia.gov/outdoor.