Michigan joins national effort to promote outdoor recreation industry


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan joined a growing national effort to build public awareness about the benefits of the outdoor recreation industry.

Representatives of Michigan’s government, non-profit organizations and the outdoor recreation industry gathered to preview a move in October to officially join the Confluence of States.

The Confluence builds public awareness on the economic, social and public health benefits as well as provide a voice for the diverse businesses and organizations that make up the industry.

“As owner of an outdoor recreation-based business whose value is tied to the character and quality of the natural environment, Michigan’s decision to sign on to the national Confluence Accords is a big deal that we enthusiastically support,” said Crystal Mountain Ski Resort President Chris MacInnes.

Today’s gathering was an opportunity to talk about the state’s recreation economy, the changing industry landscape and next steps to ensure Michigan is helping to drive the national discussion on outdoor recreation.

“From the Great Lakes to our expansive forest lands to a vast network of trails, Michigan boasts unparalleled natural resources and countless opportunities for outdoor recreation,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said.

During today’s event, Whitmer introduced Brad Garmon as the new director of Michigan’s Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry. Garmon was the interim CEO of the Michigan Environmental Council in Lansing.

“Historically, Michigan has been a national leader in conservation and recreation issues – from inspiring a young Ernest Hemingway to creating the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund that’s become a national model for recreation funding,” Garmon said.

Michigan offers more than 8 million acres of publicly accessible lands with 12,000 miles of state-designated trails. 63 percent of Michigan residents participate in some form of outdoor recreation in the state every year.

The outdoor recreation industry generates $26.6 billion in consumer spending and $7.5 billion in wages and salaries, and contributes to 232,000 direct jobs, according to the Outdoor Industry Association’s 2017 National Outdoor Recreation Economy Report.

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