Bill to Create New Office of Outdoor Recreation Passes First Committee

AB 1111 [Friedman] to create a new state outdoor recreation office has passed the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife with bipartisan support, with no opposition, and without revisions.

The bill will next proceed to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration.

AB 1111 would establish the Office of Outdoor Recreation [OREC] within state government.  The new office would be required to:

  • Support the outdoor recreation economy of the state and work towards equitable access to the outdoors.

  • Recommend policies and initiatives to enhance recreational amenities and outdoor experiences, and equitable and inclusive access.

  • Collaborate with various levels of government, tourism entities and economic development offices to promote and grow outdoor recreation.

  • Coordinate outdoor recreation policies across state and local government.

  • Foster communication between various government agencies, and companies, businesses, and others providing outdoor recreation products and services.

  • Work with state and local partners to identify current and potential climate change impacts on recreation resources.

The bill would also require the new office to create an advisory committee to provide advice, expertise, support and service to the office. The committee would be required to strive to reflect the diversity of all Californians. The committee would also be required to include members from specific government agencies and programs, as well as local and regional tourism organizations.

In its present form the bill does not propose a redirection of existing funds paid by recreational boaters. The bill would authorize the office to receive assistance and funds from public and private sources, and would require that the moneys received by the office pursuant to this provision or appropriated by the Legislature for purposes of the bill be deposited in the California Outdoor Recreation Account, which the bill would create. The author stated in committee that she envisioned OREC having a very small number of employees.

 RBOC is maintaining the following position on AB 1111: RBOC supports the goal of promoting sustainable outdoor recreation as well as economic development and job growth within the outdoor recreation economy provided the new entity does not tap into boater funds utilized for other important programs and services.