Outdoor Recreation Industry Sends Washington a Message

SEMA News—July 2017

FROM THE HILL

By Stuart Gosswein

Outdoor Recreation Industry Sends Washington a Message

Leaders Discuss Infrastructure Expansions With New Administration

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Derrick Crandall (left), president and CEO of the American Recreation Coalition, and Tom Brooks, president of Truckin Thunder.
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Many senior Trump Administration officials attended the ORIR summit, including (from left) Mike Reynolds, acting director of the National Park Service; Doug Domenech, senior White House advisor; Virginia Johnson, special assistant at U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Parks; and Leslie Weldon, deputy chief of the U.S. Forest Service.

SEMA has joined with many other organizations to form the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable (ORIR). Its primary mission is to pursue federal policy reforms for rebuilding and expanding the nation’s recreation-related infrastructure. ORIR represents everything from motorized recreation to boating, camping, fishing, hiking and archery. Outdoor recreation generates an estimated $646 billion in direct spending and supports more than 6 million jobs.

More than 30 ORIR representatives recently met with U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Ryan Zinke and other senior officials from the department and the U.S. Forest Service to discuss improving visitor experiences on America’s public lands and waters. The ORIR-sponsored summit was held at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, with a follow-up meeting at DOI headquarters.

Tom Brooks, president of Truckin Thunder, participated in the summit as a SEMA-member representative. With four locations in central Virginia, Brooks’ company specializes in selling, installing and serving trailer hitches, towing accessories and trailers destined for recreation areas.

“The recreation industry is thriving as Americans want to enjoy the great outdoors,” Brooks said. “Private industry can play an important role in partnering with the federal government to upgrade the facilities and infrastructure of our world-class parks, forests and open lands.”

SEMA and the other ORIR members are working with lawmakers on Capitol Hill as well as federal agency officials to identify ways to assist in improving visitor experiences on the nation’s public lands and waters. That includes public-private partnerships to reduce a multi-billion-dollar maintenance backlog. Suggestions include reduced barriers to private investment, modernizing campsites, extended service hours and seasons, and implementing electronic fee collection.

“For SEMA members, expanded recreation opportunities translate into more sales,” Brooks said. “That may come in the form of sales of new tires, wheels and suspension equipment for cars and trucks pulling trailers and boats, or purchases of ATVs, UTVs and four-wheel-drive vehicles to go off-roading. We are working with federal authorities to address the public’s desire to enjoy outdoor America.”

SEMA PAC President’s Club Spotlight: Nick Gramelspacher

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Nick Gramelspacher is the vice president of sales and marketing at Meyer Distributing, which is based in Jasper, Indiana. Gramelspacher joined the SEMA PAC President’s Club in 2016 and currently serves on SEMA’s Board of Directors.

“I live, breathe and sleep the automotive industry,” he said. “It’s all I know. For anything to come between my passion, hobby and career just doesn’t sit right with me. The reason I joined the President’s Club is to protect all of this and to prevent government overreach. I feel that it’s my duty to help protect what we all care so much about.”

For more information on SEMA PAC, please contact SEMA PAC and Congressional Relations Director Christian Robinson by phone at 202-751-8507 or by email at christianr@sema.org.

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