May '21

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46 • RV PRO • May 2021 rv-pro.com RV PRO: The pandemic presented many challenges, but the RV and outdoors industry experienced record growth. How did ORR help members deal with challenges and opportunities in 2020? Turner: In the early months there was no playbook, so ORR provided a network for sharing ideas and best practices. Every state had different manufacturing laws and followed different rules for staying open and different health guidelines. The rules changed daily, and trade shows went virtual. ORR shared how people were changing their conferences – how they were dealing with impacted revenue models, and best practices. ORR kept the industry connected. RV PRO: How did ORR achieve the Holy Grail – the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act – during a national government shutdown? Turner: We promoted the legislation by showing that busi- nesses needed to open, and people needed places to get outside, get healthy, and get Vitamin D. We showed people were not spreading the virus outdoors. And we demonstrated that passing the Act would help us stay in busi- ness, help these places remain protected, and restore community access for many years. RV PRO: How will the Great American Outdoors Act spur rural development and create greater equity? Turner: The Act has two major components: fully and per- manently funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million per year and providing $9.5 billion over five years to address a maintenance backlog at American national parks. The two go hand-in-hand. The maintenance piece gives us the business certainty to invest in a park, gateway area, or private campground because a road will be fixed, or a boat launch installed. Water quality, roads and bridges impact how people experience the outdoors. If people have a bad experience or encounter inadequate infrastructure, they will not come back; they will go to Disney next year. We want them to keep going to the outdoors. We need to talk about the size of RVs and what's needed in campgrounds to accom- modate RV owners. And we must talk about electric vehicles and charging stations, mountain bikes and horses. All that loops into how we can provide a better experience – an experience that is better for visitors, better for business, and better for outdoor recreation. RV PRO: How did ORR help struggling outdoor businesses access the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in 2020? Turner: Outdoor businesses struggled with the Paycheck Pro- tection Program (PPP). It did not align with outdoor recreation, especially seasonal work. We worked through that together. We considered what would help businesses the most and the common denominator we should push for. We met with impacted groups and drafted language that we sent to Congress to change the leg- islation. We proposed fixes to the CARES Act to ensure outdoor businesses were eligible to receive loan forgiveness. In the second CARES Act, the administration changed the PPP program so out- door businesses could access the funds. Associations also struggled. They didn't receive government support to stay afloat. They lost their trade shows and conferences, and members could not pay their dues. We lobbied to make non- profits eligible for PPP benefits, too. We were a voice for the entire recreation community that said: 'Here's the things these businesses need to stay afloat.' And if they don't stay afloat, 'Here's the impact you can expect.' We surveyed members in partnership with the Oregon State University Outdoor Recreation Economic Initiative to track and quantify industry disruptions and economic impacts. RV PRO: How did ORR help struggling outdoors businesses at the state level? Turner: We also looked at the increased demand for outdoor resources and how to get people outside responsibly. We developed outside messaging that our members could use with their brands so that they had a collective business voice that got things done. We advocated for our members at the federal level and with state governors. We changed their minds about restricting recreation and shared best practices to safeguard health. RV PRO: How does ORR work with RV manufacturers and dealers? Turner: RVIA, RVDA and ARVC executives are on our board to keep us connected to those industries. Their teams are on our Turner is a big advocate of outdoor recreation on a personal level as well as a professional one. She is pictured here preparing to kayak to a marine sanctuary with other ORR members.

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