With beaches, forests, plains, and mountains, Minnesota is a bountiful land for outdoor enthusiasts. And soon, a task force of 20 people will identify even more outdoor economic and participation opportunities around the state.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Explore Minnesota, and many outdoor recreation businesses worked together to set up the task force—another win for the outdoor recreation movement.

Already, outdoor recreation accounts for 2.7 percent ($9.6 billion) of Minnesota's economy and supports 101,000 jobs.

The state is one of 17 to establish state-level offices and task forces to support the industry. These state offices are aligning industry, government, and educational institutions to grow and leverage the outdoor recreation economy.

States with offices: Washington, Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Carolina, Maine, New Mexico, Michigan, Nevada, Wisconsin, Virginia, New Hampshire

States with task forces: Minnesota, Vermont, and Maryland

“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). 

States with such offices and task forces leverage their existing outdoor recreation businesses and resources into attracting even more businesses to the industry while increasing the economy, Wahl said.

ORR along with REI and Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) applaud the development.

“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 VP of Government Affairs Patricia Rojas-Ungar said. "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."

Gear Junkie, Gander Mountain, and Midwest Mountaineering are a few of the outdoor businesses with roots in Minnesota. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Voyageurs National Park, and Itasca State Park are a few of the outdoor recreation areas in the state.

Minnesota will select 20 task force members through an online application process. Members will be announced in January.


Headshot of Carolann Ouellette, Maine OREC

Maine's OREC director is rad

Six months have passed since Carolann Ouellette was hired to lead Maine's Office of Outdoor Recreation and based on the support from Gov. Janet Mills and other in decision-making roles, it sounds like she'll be around for much longer. Ouellette's post and office will soon be ...read more