The Outdoor Business Alliance of WNC are tremendously excited about North Carolina’s new Outdoor Recreation Director, a new position and office in the NC Department of Commerce starting in January 2018.

Lots of hard work from all kinds of great NC companies and national organizations went into making this happen, and we had tremendous support from our legislators. With support like this from the State, and a great network of Gear Builders and industry partners, we’re stoked to see what happens next. We look forward to working closely with the new Director to help them achieve great success in their work, and grow the outdoor industry across NC!

North Carolina Heads Outside With New Office of Outdoor Recreation

The Outdoor Business Alliance of WNC assist in the creation of new statewide outdoor position

Asheville, NC (July 1, 2017) – For North Carolina locals, the state’s beautiful beaches, rugged mountains and sparkling lakes have long been a must-visit playground for adventure seekers. As of June 28, 2017, the State is also recognizing the impact of its outdoor recreation thanks in part to efforts from North Carolina’s (NC) first organized outdoor coalition, the Outdoor Business Alliance of Western North Carolina (OBA).

During the 2016 SHIFT conference in Wyoming – an annual gathering working to protect our public lands – OBA Director Noah Wilson and founding OBA member Tom Dempsey met with officials from three Western States – Washington, Utah and Colorado – that had already piloted a state Outdoor Industry Director model. Recognizing its potential impact for outdoor industry and economic development in NC, Wilson, Dempsey, and OBA member Dave Petri worked with a dedicated group of local outdoor brands to help implement a similar program in NC.

“The SHIFT workshop was such an eye opener for us, and I remember leaving that conference with a strong conviction that this was something our state needs,” Wilson reminisces about his time in Wyoming. “It was also something OBA is uniquely suited to support and leverage, so we all got excited about how we could use our awesome natural recreation resources and our network of companies and supporters to grow the industry here in NC.”

The group’s efforts – that also included work from Mountain Khakis, VF Corp, Manning Fulton & Skinner, and Outdoor Industrt Association – paid off, with the North Carolina General Assembly officially creating the position of the Outdoor Recreation Recruitment Director on June 28th. The position will begin January 1st, 2018 as part of the Commerce Department, and will involve promoting economic development in outdoor-based recreation and manufacturing statewide.

“Less than one year ago this seemed like a long-shot dream. Thanks to the vision of our elected leaders and a committed group of outdoor industry pros, we’ve made this happen,” said Dempsey, President of SylvanSport. “I am proud to see North Carolina at the forefront of this effort to recognize and grow the outdoor recreation economy.”

Statistics aided their efforts, with a recent Outdoor Industry Association report stating NC generates $19.2 billion from outdoor recreation and 192,000 jobs. Legislation efforts were led by Senator Rick Gunn of Alamance County, with broad bipartisan support from around the state.

“As a North Carolina based outdoor industry manufacturer and brand, we are excited to see the state recognize the value of our industry. We look forward to working with the new director on growing our powerful economic impact,” said Petri, VP of Marketing at Nester Hosiery.