Outdoor recreation officials from Arkansas, Maryland, and New Hampshire recently signed on to the Outdoor Recreation Industry Confluence Accords. The signing, which happened in Little Rock, brings the total number of states in the coalition to 16.
The Confluence of States is a nonpartisan organization developing a national platform to grow the outdoor recreation industry, protect the nation’s wild places and transform conservation into a driver for economic prosperity, according to a statement from the Arkansas Department of Heritage.
The Confluence Accords embody 12 principles contained in the four pillars of conservation and stewardship, education and workforce training, economic development, and public health and wellness. They were developed in 2018 to promote and advance best practices for all states to sustainably grow their outdoor recreation economies.
The original Confluence Accord signatories were outdoor recreation directors from the states of Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming on behalf of their governors. The second signing included Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, and Virginia.
“Outdoor recreation is an important part of every state. While our landscapes look different, we are committed to the same pillars,” said Colin Robertson, chair of the Confluence of States and administrator of Nevada’s Division of Outdoor Recreation. “Leaders from Arkansas, Maryland, and New Hampshire have taken the next step to stand by 13 other states and support one another.”
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis in November reported that outdoor recreation makes up 1.8% of U.S. GDP, generating $689 billion in gross output and supporting 4.3 million jobs.
“As ‘The Natural State,’ Arkansas’s signing of the Confluence Accords makes a great deal of sense,” said Katherine Andrews, director of the Arkansas Office of Outdoor Recreation. “Our office was created last year by Governor Asa Hutchinson and Parks, Heritage and Tourism Secretary Stacy Hurst, who both recognized the importance of outdoor recreation to Arkansas’s economy, our quality of life and the health of our residents and visitors. We are proud to take this step in joining the Confluence of States and look forward to learning from and alongside our fellow member states.”