Virginia’s New Office of Outdoor Recreation

Efforts to Promote the Outdoor Recreation industry in Virginia

Virginia’s Governor Northam recently announced the creation of an Office of Outdoor Recreation to lead efforts to promote the outdoor recreation industry in Virginia and recruit new outdoor businesses to the Commonwealth. Virginia will be the 15th state in the nation to establish an office or task force dedicated to strengthening the outdoor industry, and the third on the East Coast.


“In establishing a statewide Office of Outdoor Recreation, we are taking significant steps to recognize the importance of this industry as a true driver of economic development in the Commonwealth, and demonstrate why Virginia is the natural fit for outdoor business. Outdoor recreation not only improves the growth potential of our communities, but it also aligns with our goals on land conservation, workforce development, and public health. Every region of our Commonwealth is home to unique outdoor assets and recreation opportunities, which continue to earn national praise and are sought out by millions of travelers each year,” said Governor Northam.


Photo by Office of the Governor / Jack Mayer
Photo by Office of the Governor / Jack Mayer

The office is spearheading an initiative to recruit manufacturers of outdoor products such as kayaks, bicycles, and gear to locate or expand in the Commonwealth and produce their goods in the state—spurring job creation and private investment, while creating opportunities for outdoor tourism focused partnerships and on-site demo experiences. Currently the outdoor recreation industry contributes nearly $22 billion annually to the Virginia economy and employs more than 197,000 Virginians. 

“Outdoor recreation not only contributes to a community’s economy, but also to its sense of place,” said secretary of commerce and trade Brian Ball. “Quality of life is often a key decision point for businesses deciding on their next location, and we want to leverage every asset in Virginia’s value proposition. Our diverse outdoor assets, combined with our ranking as the country’s Top State for Business, make Virginia the perfect place for new and expanding outdoor businesses.”


To learn more about Virginia’s outdoor recreation industry or the Office of Recreation visit