Policy Update

Legislation Across the Country to Increase Outdoor Recreation and Engagement



NCEL Point of Contact

Dylan McDowell
Executive Director


States are increasing outdoor engagement through access programs and by creating state Offices of Outdoor Recreation. Last week, New Mexico passed SB462 creating the first Outdoor Recreation Office to include an “outdoor equity grant program” supporting access for outdoor activities. This program will provide state funding to local municipalities, counties, Native American communities, and nonprofits for outdoor recreation and education programs targetting low-income and disadvantaged youth. Boosting outdoor recreation throughout the state will also help grow the state’s economy and create local jobs.

Below are several other bills that states are considering in 2019.

Creating An Office of Outdoor Recreation – Seven states have already established an office and seven more states are considering legislation in 2019.

Promoting Outdoor Engagement – States can promote outdoor engagement through grant programs or outdoor initiatives. In 2007, Washington State established a No Child Left Inside grant program to support programs for low-income youth. In 2019, at least three states are looking to replicate this program while Washington is seeking to expand increase the grant fund amount.

  • Oregon SB589
  • Minnesota HF133
  • California AB209
  • Utah passed a resolution (HCR 4) supporting Utah’s Every Kid Outdoor Initiative

To get more information on outdoor recreation policy options and keep up to date on legislation, visit ncel.net/outdoor-recreation.