Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden today urged Senate leadership to help the outdoor economy in Oregon and nationwide by providing funds for outfitters and guides in the next COVID-19 package.
Wyden noted that although the pandemic forced many outfitters and guides to suspend parts of their season, their businesses have largely been unable to have access to emergency funds in earlier coronavirus relief packages.
“These businesses represent an important component of the outdoor economy, particularly in rural communities across the Northwest,” Wyden wrote Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles Schumer. “Whether it’s hiking, rafting, hunting or camping, fishing and boating, outfitters and guides and other seasonal small outdoor businesses are critical to keeping visitors safe, providing memorable experiences and preserving outdoor spaces for the future.”
A sponsor of the 21st Century Conservation Corps Act, Wyden cited alarming statistics from the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable that show 88 percent of outdoor recreation businesses have laid off or furloughed a portion of their workforce and 26 percent are seeing a decrease in revenue of more than 50 percent compared to last year.
“Congress should recognize the enormous impact this pandemic has had on outfitters and guides by providing specific relief in the next package,” Wyden wrote. “As an example, relief from Federal land use fees would significantly prop up outfitters, guides, and other seasonal outdoor businesses with only a small cost to the government.”
A copy of the letter is here.
A web version of this release is here.