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Outdoor Recreation Industry Celebrated At Utah Capitol

The Outdoor Recreation industry brings in $12.3 billion annually to Utah’s economy. On Friday, industry representatives and state officials met at the Capitol to show support for more than 1,000 outdoor companies in the state. KPCW’s Emily Means has more.

From backpacks, to apparel, archery and headphones, representatives from Utah’s outdoor industries mingled at the Capitol Rotunda Friday morning for the state’s first Outdoor Recreation Day on the Hill. Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation Director Tom Adams says the outdoor recreation opportunities available along the Wasatch Back are huge economic drivers for the state. He pointed to businesses such as snowsports and bike brand POC as well as the non-profit trade association Snowsports Industries America putting down roots in Park City as indication of the role Summit and Wasatch Counties play in outdoor recreation for the state.

"Specifically, Summit and Wasatch Counties—as every resident knows up there—is a mecca for outdoor recreation," Adams said. "Part of our office, the Office of Outdoor Recreation, per legislation we’re required to help with corporate recruitment, and we cannot not tell people about Heber and Midway and Park City, and these places where you can bike and ski right out of your house. And those amenities we’re seeing across the state are bringing businesses in the outdoor sector for sure."

The Park City-based National Ability Center, which started in 1985 at Park City Mountain Resort, was at the event to promote adaptive recreation. NAC business development manager Katie Hogan talked about making skiing accessible for people of all different abilities to enjoy.

"You don’t have to be on a normal two skis to get out on our mountains and recreate," Hogan said. "We can do three skis, mono-skis, bi-skis, all of that to get out and recreate and bringing the family and friends, too, to learn with them and see people in a different light. So, we’ll adapt the equipment, and we have tons of fun things to do that."

The event preceded Tourism Day on the Hill. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development calls outdoor recreation the primary driver of Utah’s tourism industry.

Emily Means hadn’t intended to be a journalist, but after two years of studying chemistry at the University of Utah, she found her fit in the school’s communication program. Diving headfirst into student media opportunities, Means worked as a host, producer and programming director for K-UTE Radio as well as a news writer and copy editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle.