Inslee orders creation of recreation task force

Skagit Valley HeraldFebruary 20, 2014 

From hiking and hunting to skiing and scuba diving, outdoor recreation is a big draw and big business in the state.

Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday signed an executive order to create a blue-ribbon task force to transform the state's outdoor recreation industry, tourism and funding support for recreation areas.

"Outdoor recreation is an underappreciated part of our economy," Inslee said in a news release. "We need to look at ways that we can support and expand this industry to create jobs, increase economic opportunity and support our rural communities."

Consumers annually spend $22.5 billion on outdoor recreation gear and activities, supporting 227,000 jobs and generating $1.6 billion in tax revenues, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.

In addition to economic and employment benefits, Inslee's executive order states that outdoor recreation also improves public health and quality of life.

The order establishes a 15-member task force with representatives from a range of public and private organizations involved in outdoor recreation.

The task force will develop recommendations and an action plan to strengthen outdoor tourism and job creation, promote recreation and develop long-term funding sources for state-owned lands and facilities.

The recommendations will be submitted to the governor and Legislature in September.

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