With the density of outdoor companies, the natural assets found in the state and a workforce emboldened by the outdoors, Governor Hickenlooper launched the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC) in 2015. The office is one of eleven in the nation that provides a central point of contact, advocacy and resources at the state level for the diverse constituents, businesses and communities that rely on the continued health of the outdoor recreation economy.
Our mission is to inspire industries and communities to thrive in Colorado’s great outdoors through our focus on four impact areas.
The OREC Office works closely with other OEDIT divisions to support the economic health of the outdoor industry. OREC can assist outdoor recreation companies looking to expand or relocate to Colorado navigate state funding incentives that may be available. Through the Rural Technical Assistance Program (RTAP), the state’s plan to encourage growth in rural areas, OREC has partnered with the University of Colorado Boulder’s MBA program to work with communities to identify opportunities in strategic planning for the outdoor recreation industry.
More information about state incentives is available here.
Learn more about RTAP here.
Our office works closely with several Colorado higher education institutions that are working to ensure education programs that are focused on the outdoor recreation industry rank highly across the nation. Colorado Mountain College continues to be a great partner in researching new and innovative certificate and degree programs for the outdoor industry, including a trail building management program. Colorado State University continues to deepen its relationship with the tourism industry by creating a certificate program for adventure travel tourism in association with their Tourism Masters program. And, the University of Colorado Boulder offers students a Masters of the Environment program.
Creating state-supported infrastructure for conservation efforts is necessary to enhance the economic and social impact of outdoor recreation activities. OREC supports the the partnership between the Colorado Tourism Office and Leave No Trace. OREC, in partnership with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, also supports the SHIFT principles – six principles for advancing outdoor recreation and conservation. SHIFT recognizes that outdoor recreation adds economic stability, diversity, resilience, and prosperity to communities while creating a broader constituency for protecting our natural resources. The principles guide collaboration among outdoor recreationists, conservationists, and public land managers and serve as a starting point for collective, strategic conversations and actions to protect our lands, waters and wildlife.
The intersection between public health and wellness and the outdoor recreation industry has always been anecdotal at best. We are endeavoring to define this intersection at a deeper level. Imagine if a health professional or care manager would recommend a hike or bike ride to patients and offer parks, trails, and gear guidance based on the patient’s interest and ability. The possibilities are limitless!