Governor Inslee Makes Outdoor Recreation a Priority
Governor Inslee speaking at the Big Tent Outdoor Coalition about the importance of the outdoor recreation in Washington. Photo by Andrea Imler.
As Washingtonians and hikers, we know firsthand the importance of the great outdoors and what it provides—an adventure, improved health, respite from our busy lives, a profound learning experience for our children—the list is endless.
Yet outdoor recreation continues to be undervalued when it comes to the investment put into it. Look at our increasingly budget-squeezed state parks and national forests, which have struggled to meet the rising demand in outdoor recreation like hiking, camping and bike riding.
Blue ribbon task force: support outdoor recreation in Washington
Yesterday Governor Inslee signed an executive order to create a blue ribbon task force that will look at ways to support the outdoor recreation industry and increase funding for recreation areas. A special focus will be placed on getting people, especially youth and families, engaged in outdoor activities.
“Outdoor recreation is an underappreciated part of our economy,” said Inslee in a release yesterday. “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.”
Outdoor recreation in Washington directly supports 227,000 jobs and generates $22.5 billion in annual spending on things like equipment, lodging and apparel. Each year, more than two-thirds of Washingtonians recreate outdoors.
"Promoting and preserving" Washington's outdoor spaces
Last week Governor Inslee was joined by more than thirty groups participating in the Big Tent Outdoor Coalition, to announce his new outdoor recreation initiative. The Big Tent Outdoor Coalition is an informal group of businesses, non-profit organizations (including Washington Trails Association) and government agencies committed to promoting the incredible benefits outdoor recreation brings to our state from encouraging personal health to building community.
“This isn’t just about Washington’s economy," said Inslee. "This is also about a generational legacy in our state. We need to leave a Washington that allows every single one of us—young or old—to experience, play and relax in some of the most beautiful trails, parks and lakes in the world. I know we can find a way forward to making sure Washington’s beautiful outdoor spaces are promoted and preserved for generations to come.”