POCATELLO – Today BlueRibbon Coalition Executive Director, Ben Burr was invited to participate in a hearing before the West Virginia Senate Government Organization Committee to discuss the economic benefits of outdoor recreation. The subject of the hearing was Senate Concurrent Resolution 2, introduced by Senators MAYNARD, SWOPE, BROWN, CAPUTO, JEFFRIES, LINDSAY, MARONEY, MARTIN, NELSON, SMITH, STOVER, SYPOLT, WOELFEL, AND WOODRUM. The resolution requests the study of study the “potential economic benefits and regulatory challenges associated with certain outdoor recreational opportunities on state-owned land specifically including available federal funding, wildlife viewing stamps, dispersed camping, and vehicular access.” The study resolution also requests that particular focus be paid to the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In his testimony, Burr discussed the current economic disparity that exists between the outdoor recreation economy of West Virginia and the neighboring state of Pennsylvania, a state with similar outdoor recreation environments to West Virginia “Pennsylvania, which is a state next door to West Virginia, has a more welcoming policy towards RVing – which would include dispersed camping – is ranked 7th nationally in economic benefit from RVing.” Burr said. “West Virginia is ranked 47th.” Burr also stated that the study required from this resolution will position West Virginia to justify changes in policy that will improve its rankings for outdoor recreation economic impacts.
The full hearing can be viewed using this link. The West Virginia legislative session ends Saturday evening, and sponsors of the Concurrent Resolution are hopeful they can get it passed in the final hours of the session.