Policy Update

Georgia Legislation Would Expand Outdoor Access and Learning

March 16, 2022

Region

Southeast

NCEL Point of Contact

Dylan McDowell
Acting Executive Director

Contact

Two Georgia Bills Would Create an Office of the Outdoors and a New Learning Pilot Program

Georgia legislators are considering two bills sponsored by Senator Sheikh Rahman to expand outdoor opportunities in the state. In 2021, the Senate passed a bipartisan resolution to create an interim Outdoor Learning Study Committee. Through hearings and outdoor tours, the committee created a set of recommendations that led to the introduction of SB 619 and SB 603 this year. 

Office of the Outdoors

SB 619 would establish an Office of the Outdoors within the Governor’s Office to better coordinate access, recreation, education, and economic development opportunities in the state. The Bureau of Economic Analysis data show that the outdoor recreation economy contributes more than $10 billion to the state economy and supports over 130,000 jobs. To date, 18 states have established outdoor offices, task forces, or policy advisor positions to champion new efforts and help coordinate stakeholders. 

Outdoor Learning Pilot Program

SB 603, which passed the Senate on March 15,  would create an outdoor learning spaces pilot program administered by the Department of Education. The goal is to determine how to implement state-wide standards and funding for outdoor learning spaces in the future. 

More State Action

In the 2022 Legislative Session, 28 states have introduced more than 70 pieces of legislation to increase outdoor learning, recreation, and access opportunities. A full list of bills under consideration is available here. Contact Dylan McDowell with any questions. 

Senator Rahman is a recipient of NCEL’s Rising Environmental Leader Award and served as a Georgia State Lead in 2021.