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Recreation Advocate

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Governors Look to Boost Western Recreation, Tourism Economies

  • The West's Competitive Advantage: Landscapes, Open Lands and Unique History
  • Connecting Kids and Families to the West's Great Outdoors
  • Managing the Region's Recreation Assets

"I launched the Get Out West! initiative when I became Chair of Western Governors' Association last year as a means  to both examine and celebrate outdoor recreation and tourism across the West,"  Gregoire said.   "I want to thank all those who contributed so much time and effort in their research and in developing these reports."

The Advisory Group's main conclusion is that for the West to remain the best place for outdoor recreation and tourism, the Governors should embrace policies that facilitate the growth of these industries and maintain and improve the lands and waters, trails and other infrastructure that make the West a great place to visit and play.

"Western Governors thank the Advisory Committee members for their hard work. Each of us will examine these recommendations to see how we can put them to use in our states," said Gov. Gary Herbert (Utah), WGA Vice Chairman.

Western Governors have already taken action on a number of the recommendations from the Advisory Group:

  • In December 2011, the Governors adopted a resolution encouraging the federal government to streamline and improve the tourist visa application experience and wait time for approval to visit the U.S.  They also adopted a resolution encouraging the use of the conservation corps to do construction and maintenance of recreation assets on public lands.
  • Yesterday Western Governors and the outdoor recreation industry released a joint report,  A Snapshot of the Economic Impact of Outdoor Recreation, which found the economic contribution of outdoor recreation in the nation in 2011 was $645.6 billion of which $255.6 billion was in Western states.

Today the Governors launched a pilot program in several Western states for a Youth Outdoor Recreation Outreach Coordinator (YOuROC).

In the fall of 2012 and early 2013, WGA and its recreation industry partners plan to announce economic information on a state-by-state basis.

Get Out West! Advisory Group:

Lise Aangeenbrug, Executive Director, Great Outdoors ColoradoJohn Binkley, President, Alaska Cruise Association
Harry Bruell, President & CEO, Southwest Conservation Corps
Jeff Chapman, Member of Board of Directors, Backcountry Horsemen of Washington and of Washington Trails Association
Mike Collins, Vice President, Public Affairs, REI
Adam Cramer, General Counsel and Policy Architect, Outdoor Alliance
Derrick A. Crandall, President, American Recreation Coalition
Jeri Duran, Montana Office of Tourism, Department of Commerce
Ben Ellis, Director, Alaska State Parks and Outdoor Recreation
Russ Ehnes, Executive Director, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council
George Harris, President, Northwest Marine Trade Association
Julie Heizer, Deputy Director for Industry Relations, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, International Trade dministration
Frank Hugelmeyer, President & CEO, Outdoor Industry Association
Robin Jennison, Secretary, Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks & Tourism
Aubrey C. King, Executive Director, Western States Tourism Policy Council
Ashley Korenblat, CEO, Western Spirit Cycling, Director, International Mountain Bicycling Association Public Lands Initiative
Martin LeBlanc, Mission Outdoors Director, Sierra Club, Executive Vice-President, IslandWood School
Rue Mapp, Youth Investment Program Officer, Stewardship Council
Lori McCullough, Executive Director, Tread Lightly!, Inc.
Nancy Merrill, Director, Idaho Parks and Recreation
Eleanor Morris, Policy Associate, The Nature Conservancy
Sandy Pantlick, Director, Oklahoma Travel Promotion
Nathan Rafferty, President and CEO, Ski Utah
Sherry L. Rupert, Board Member and Treasurer, American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA)
Mark Rupp, Director, Washington State - WDC Office
Andy Treharne, Western States Manager, Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation
Will Shafroth, Councilor to the Secretary, America's Great Outdoors, Department of the Interior
Amanda Smith, Executive Director, Utah Department of Environmental Quality
Diane Shober, Director, Wyoming Office of Tourism
Kathy Van Kleeck, Senior VP, Government Relations --  Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA), Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA)
Claudia Vecchio, Director, Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs
Esther Worker, Education Account Manager, Esri

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