Outdoor recreation industry leaders, including Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, REI and Outdoor Industry Association, on Thursday applauded Minnesota’s announcement of an Outdoor Recreation Task Force (ORTF) to study and identify economic and participation opportunities around the state’s robust outdoor recreation resources.
The effort to create the task force was jointly pursued by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Explore Minnesota and was supported by many Minnesota outdoor recreation businesses—from boating and fishing to hunting and paddling.
The task force will consist of 20 seats and be announced in January. Minnesota is well-positioned to take advantage of the opportunities the Outdoor Recreation Task Force will create because outdoor recreation already accounts for 2.7 percent of Minnesota’s economy, supports 101,000 jobs across the state and contributes $9.6 billion to Minnesota’s economy.
“The outdoor recreation community has worked collectively before to make great strides, but Minnesota’s announcement of an Outdoor Recreation Task Force is a stunning example of our sector working together with the state to create real support for the growing outdoor recreation economy in Minnesota,” said Jessica Wahl, executive director of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR). “Time and time again we have seen how states with offices of outdoor recreation are better able to leverage their existing outdoor recreation businesses and resources into attracting even more outdoor businesses while increasing the overall recreation economy in those states. ORR is proud of the role our members played in working together to create a task force in Minnesota and thrilled to provide continued support for this effort!”
“We applaud Minnesota’s decision to further strengthen the state’s growing outdoor recreation economy by forming of the Outdoor Recreation Task Force,” said Patricia Rojas-Ungar, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) vice president of government affairs. “This effort sets Minnesota on a path to play an even larger role in advancing the stewardship of its public lands, nurturing the economic development of its recreation assets and increasing access to the great outdoors for its residents and visitors. OIA and its members will continue to champion this national movement to grow outdoor recreation because it’s good for jobs, it’s good for our land and water and it’s good for our children and families.”
“With this announcement, Minnesota becomes the 17th state to create either a task force or recreation office dedicated to maximizing the social and economic benefits of time outdoors,” said Marc Berejka, director of government and community affairs for REI Co-op, the nation’s largest consumer cooperative. “The movement now covers over a third of our 50 states, so congratulations to the legislators and agencies that have helped reach that milestone.” He added, “Access to nature is good for our individual well-being and the well-being of our communities. Stewarding the outdoors is good for the planet and is essential to a sustainable, 21st century economy. We look forward to working with the task force to help cultivate all of those outcomes across Minnesota.”
“While it has always been clear that boating and fishing are cherished pastimes in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, the decision by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Explore Minnesota to establish a task force solely focused on promoting and expanding outdoor recreation is an unequivocal testament to our industry’s economic importance in Minnesota,” said Nicole Vasilaros, senior vice president of government and legal affairs at the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “We thank these agencies for giving outdoor recreation the voice it has earned and look forward to working with them and the task force.”
“This represents a great moment for the State of Minnesota, by recognizing and giving a voice to the $9.6 billion economic impact of outdoor recreation and the more than 100,000 jobs it creates in the state,” said Matt Gruhn, president, Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (Minnesota-based trade organization). “Led by boating and fishing, our robust outdoor industry is eager to join together to ensure Minnesota is leading the nation when it comes to supporting and growing our outdoor recreation system and economy.”