Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) announced today that Nathan Fey, Director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC), will leave his role on January 14 to be the Director of Land and Water Programs with the Colorado-based Mighty Arrow Family Foundation. Under his leadership, the OEDIT was secured in state statute and received a dedicated budget.

“It has been a privilege to serve as director of OREC for the past three years,” said Fey. “I am excited for the opportunity to directly support organizations that are doing important work to advance policies in areas that I have long been passionate about. I am grateful to have championed the outdoor industry in Colorado and nationally, and for the many projects we’ve supported through OREC that have made a real impact on our State.”

“Nathan is an avid champion for the outdoor recreation industry and his determined advocacy has positioned Colorado as the basecamp for the outdoor industry,” said OEDIT Executive Director Pat Meyers. “We welcome the opportunity to partner with him and our vital stakeholders such as the OREC Advisory Group to position the Office for future success and to nurture Colorado’s thriving outdoor recreation industry.”

Under Fey’s stewardship, the OREC office was signed into statute by Governor Jared Polis and secured funding as a line item in the state general budget for the first time since the Office was established.

In 2020, Colorado’s outdoor recreation industry accounted for $9.6 billion in consumer spending annually and contributed 120,000 direct jobs. According to the 2019 SCORP report, 92 percent of Colorado residents participate in outdoor recreation each year. Colorado’s outdoor economy contributes to a higher quality of life, making people and communities happier and healthier.

From 22 million acres of public land, 105,344 miles of rivers, 690 peaks over 13,000 feet, and expansive vistas of prairies, mountain valleys, and desert canyons, Colorado has no rival when it comes to iconic natural landscapes and a world-class recreation economy.

Leveraging that strength, Fey partnered with the University of Colorado Boulder Masters of the Environment (MENV) program on several projects to advance the outdoor economy. Students from the program recently completed a Capstone project which will help Moffat County diversify its economy, and serve as a road map for other Colorado counties that want to do an assessment as part of their participation in the Rural Technical Assistance Program (RTAP).

“The partnership that Nathan facilitated with CU has given our team a tool that will be used for years to help diversify and grow our rural communities,” said Glenn Plagens, Director of the Business Support and Rural Opportunity office at OEDIT. “We appreciate this legacy project that he has helped to create for all of us.”

Most recently, Fey led the effort to secure a $9.7 million Economic Development Administration Grant to support tourism and outdoor recreation in Colorado. Approximately half of the $9.7 million will be used to support Colorado’s rural outdoor-recreation economies and mitigate impacts on the outdoor industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, Fey served as the Co-Chair of the Confluence of States and assisted five other states in establishing OREC Offices, and meeting the membership criteria enumerated in the Confluence Accords.

To learn more about the OREC office, visit its website at