The Puerto Rico Resilience Project (PRRP) is an effective action plan bringing together grassroots leaders, environmental organizations, academic institutions, and government agencies to advance cultural and ecological resilience and a new economy of outdoors recreation through a nationwide, citizen-driven movement of Promotores Verdes.
Oficina Puertorriqueña de Recreación al Aire Libre
Puerto Rico Outdoors Recreation Office
Americas for Conservation + the Arts through OPRAL Partnership in collaboration with the academic and research entities of Universidad Metropolitana, Dr. Carlos M. Padiín, Chancellor UMET and, University of Puerto Rico, Dr. Luis Ferrao Delgado, Chancellor Rio Piedras Campus and WITH the guidance support of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC), Luis Benitez, Director and the Outdoors Industry Association (OÍA), Amy Roberts, Director.
Hurricane Maria brought afloat Puerto Rico’s need to reinvent itself on many sectors. The reconstruction of the island after such devastation is geared at making it rise as the most powerful and resilient economy in the Caribbean. The storm’s damage to the island’s infrastructure emphasized the need to turn to environmentally sustainable activities that promote its economic development.
Tourism has traditionally been one of the Island’s strong economic sectors. For decades, it has been consistently focused on conventional attractions and has failed to build capacity for municipalities beyond the traditional destinations and the metropolitan area. Many factors have undermined Puerto Rico’s competitiveness as a Caribbean destination. Traditional destination tourism has not succeeded to incentivize the economic growth of the small business sector which is foundational to forging a resilient economy for the island, especially as we take into consideration post-Maria strategies for sustainable economic development. Hurricane Maria has in part reduced the island to a disaster destination.
The OPRAL Partnership identifies the outdoors economy and the great natural assets of our Puerto Rico islands as possibly the most innovative strategy to strengthen our economy by inspiring industries and communities to thrive in Puerto Rico’s great outdoors and in the process merging conservation, economic growth, and healthy communities.
AFC+A and the OPRAL Partnership identifies the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC) leadership as our roadmap for exploring the viability, assessment, and impact of such strategy. Colorado’s innovative approach focuses on four impact areas: Economic development; Conservation and stewardship; Education and workforce training; Health and wellness. AFC+A’s founder Irene Vilar, has been a member of OREC’s Advisory Council since inception in 2015.
According to the Outdoor Foundation, about 145 million Americans participate in some form of outdoor recreation each year, whether it is as part of an everyday close-to-home lifestyle or a destination vacation. In 2013, Utah created the first outdoor recreation office. Colorado followed the following year with the leadership of Luis Benitez (Collaborator in this MOU) and Governor John W. Hickenlooper. The Colorado Office has led nationwide efforts to grow the outdoors economy across states and regions. Today, more than 11 such offices exist in the United States. They are all based on the idea of strategically enhancing outdoor recreation to support economic growth and quality of life for their citizens, visitors and communities alike. These states have estimated that in five years, the consumer spending associated with outdoor recreation amounted to $887B, of which $7.6B are associated with jobs. The foretasted statistics regarding the significant impact of the outdoor recreation tourist sector in the economies of eight states, coupled with Puerto Rico’s natural and geopolitical assets, make outdoor recreation a desired mechanism for taking Puerto Rico to new heights in the industry.
The development of an outdoor recreation industry may present a unique tool for Puerto Rico to sustainably boost a local outdoors economy strengthened by a new workforce generation of outdoors and conservation stewards as well as tourism to unprecedented levels.
The development of a White Paper on the Outdoor Recreation Industry in Puerto Rico.
This entails the Sharing, collection of data, research, and writing of a final document that will compile the scattered data available from a myriad of sources and cohesively present the actual state of the outdoor recreation economy In Puerto Rico. The report is to include the natural resources available as well as the persons and entities formally or informally engaging in the various modalities of outdoor recreation throughout the island.
Under the direction of Professors Marta Amaral and Luis Acevedo, AND in collaboration with AFC+A’s senior team, Lcda Ana Toledo and Tato Torres, the University of Puerto Rico- Rio Piedras Campus commits to carry out a field study to gather the data on the outdoor recreation industry in Puerto Rico. The students in three courses to begin on January 16, 2019, under the guidance of Professor Luis Acevedo will undertake the investigation throughout the entire island.
Universidad Metropolitana will support the University of Puerto Rico’s investigative efforts, sharing its information technology, assisting in the research, data gathering and organization and the drafting of the white paper.
Following the proved model used in the United States and with the guidance and resources of Our Collaborators, the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office and the Outdoor Industry Association, the study will assess the outdoor recreation economy’s present and potential value in Puerto Rico, including its potential for growth.
The study will also address the public policy measures that need be implemented in order to take the outdoors recreation industry in Puerto Rico to its highest potential, making the island the ultimate destination for outdoor recreation in the Caribbean.
Hosting the First Outdoors Recreation Industry Summit in the Summer of 2019
The OPRAL Partnership commits to collaboratively develop and co-host the first outdoors recreation industry summit in Puerto Rico to take place in August 2019
Establishment of the Coalition for the Puerto Rico Outdoors Recreation Industry
The OPRAL Partnership commit their efforts to the establishment of a Puerto Rico Outdoors Recreation Industry Coalition that will include the businesses and communities that represent the backbone of the island’s outdoor recreation industry. This coalition will convene at the first Puerto Rico Outdoors Recreation Industry Summit and constitute the Summit’s programmatic centerpiece.
AREAS OF COLLABORATION
The OPRAL Partnership is committed to collaborating as follows:
AFC+A is the non-profit entity leading the coordination of efforts to implement objectives.
The Collaborators-Puerto Rico’s relevant stakeholders, the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office and the Outdoors Industry Association -- shall support the development of the white paper and make available and facilitate to the researching entities UMET, UPR-RP and AFC+A the data, inventories, projections and any information relevant to the purpose of the study and necessary for a thorough analysis of the outdoors recreation and tourism sectors in Puerto Rico.
The OPRAL Partnership-UMET, UPR-RP, and AFC+A --will be responsible for carrying out the compilation of the data, additional research necessary as well as the writing of the report.
LEADERSHIP & ADVISORY COUNCIL