Members of the National Governors Association were in Utah this past week as part of their annual summer meeting. On Pioneer Day the organization launched a new program to promote Outdoor Recreation throughout the U.S.
On Wednesday Utah Governor Gary Herbert was joined by fellow governors of Vermont, Oregon, Montana, Nevada and Maine at the Utah Natural History Museum to launch the Outdoor Recreation Learning Network. The network is meant to promote economic growth amongst states through the outdoor industry. The concept for a collaborative network started with conversations years ago between the directors of Utah, Oregon, Washington and Colorado’s offices of outdoor recreation. Now 15 states have task forces or offices of outdoor rec. Sue Gander of the National Governors Association says the organization is thrilled to help form the network and support directors, such as Utah’s director Tom Adams.
“The objective really is to help Tom and his colleagues—and there is a growing number of them—be together, learn from each other, help their governor's in their effort to support the great outdoors,” Gander explained. “So, we've been working on this for the last year or so. We're just really excited to be able to have this new project at NGA to add outdoor recreation to the list of topics that we support governor's on.”
Gander says that there are outdoor amenities to promote in every state in both rural and urban settings.
“We've got the leadership of Utah and then the subsequent states that have taken the steps of creating an office,” Gander said. “That's really important to be able to have a central point. Having an office in place to help serve as that focal point is really important. We see the network as being able to help inform the new offices as they are starting off. Rely upon the veterans and to be able to spread best practices as the states develop policies and programs and funding streams to continue to support outdoors.”
Utah was the first state to launch an outdoor recreation office in 2013. Now, the Beehive state along with others in the network are ready to grow the outdoor recreation industry throughout the U.S.
“As a native Utahn I'm really excited that the things I grew up loving to do are now going to be things that folks across the country are going to hear more about,” Gander continued. “That there's going to be increased funding and access. I’m just really excited that we have the opportunity to have everyone across the country be able to appreciate the value of being outside. Appreciate the value of having an outdoor recreation industry.”
You can find out more about NGA’s Outdoor Recreation Learning Network here.