From the outset Outdoors NSW has been about advancing outdoor experiences.
In our infancy we were advancing them by doing our all to safeguard access rights and the opportunity to freely go into our national and state parks to enjoy outdoor pursuits. When formed, our organisation was a coming together of respected professionals – many leaders in their field – to unite, discuss, lead and advance our cause.
NSW has a strong heritage in providing national parks for the people. The Royal National Park, south of Sydney, was Australia’s first national and the second such park to be declared in the world after Yellowstone National Park in the USA. Our advocacy for access has been for individuals, commercial operators and organisations such as Clubs, Scouts, Guides and even The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.
Hand in hand with that, we’ve been providing a home for Outdoor Recreation Providers — many fledgling businesses — that have gone on to establish solid reputable operations serving the tourist, corporate, education and general markets. We’ve been at the forefront of helping outdoor providers come together, network, share, learn and grow.
We’ve been a huge proponent of Outdoor Education (OE) — helping to clarify exactly what it is— using the outdoors as a learning vehicle to aid personal, social and community development — and encouraging more and more schools to provide OE opportunities for their students. We’ve recognised that the experience of being and learning outdoors has been challenged in recent decades due to society developments and other school and sporting pursuits competing with OE as an in-school and extra-curricular activity. However we believe strongly in the value of OE and are heartened to see growth in this area.
With more and more operators entering the outdoor market and many ventures becoming more commercialised through Adventure and Nature-based Tourism offerings we’ve wanted to improve safety and quality for participants and the reputation of the industry. Advancing outdoor standards to ensure positive experiences for all has been a key part of our DNA.
Ironically with the growth of our cities, the demands of modern society and 24/7 technology we need the outdoors more than ever to provide release, inspiration, and a host of other elemental benefits. We know the outdoors is a panacea to many of the challenges of the modern world. Others recognise it too, which is why we’ve seen the emergence of Nature-based or Bush Therapy Providers. And which is why – more than ever – we are Advancing Outdoor Experiences.
In all these things we continue to advance outdoor experiences.
That tenet remains. However our name has changed. And for good reason.
Today our membership base – and community – are much broader than recreation and much more inclusive than a council. More than being a vehicle to promote and safeguard our interests we are a conduit to an industry that is maturing, multi-faceted and inclusive.
We are paving the way for more people to make a livelihood in the outdoors in NSW, through identifying hurdles and solutions, and upskilling and capacity building of the sector to raise its professional standing.
We are welcoming tourism operators as part of our mix as they showcase Outdoors NSW and are part of our fabric. Likewise with those innovating in the outdoors, providing positive health benefits to people and honouring our treasured natural assets through nature and bush therapy.