Wisconsin establishes outdoor recreation office - SNEWS

The windswept beaches and cliffs of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The rolling hills of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. The quiet waters of a stretch of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The 47-run Cascade Mountain ski area. These places, along with many more, will be promoted by Wisconsin's new outdoor recreation office.

On July 3, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers signed off on a budget that allocates money toward the office and the creation of three staff positions under the Department of Tourism. According to Outdoor Industry Association, Wisconsin generates $17.9 billion in consumer spending annually and supports 168,000 jobs.

"We not only want Wisconsin to remain a top-notch four-season tourist destination, but we also want to create a climate that will spur business growth and attract new businesses to Wisconsin," Tourism Secretary-designee Sara Meaney said in a news release. "Our goal is to leverage the Office of Outdoor Recreation into more travelers, greater economic impact for local communities, and new career opportunities for Wisconsinites."

Wisconsin is now the 14th state—and first in the Midwest—with either an office or task force dedicated solely to strengthening economic development and the outdoor recreation economy. Puerto Rico has also created an office, and there are talks among legislators in California and New Hampshire.

States with offices: Washington, Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Carolina, Maine, New Mexico, Michigan, and Nevada.

States with task forces: Vermont and Maryland

Margaret Newhard and Chris Chesebro, the fourth generation owners of Wigwam Mills, are hopeful for what the office will bring to their state.

 “As a Sheboygan, Wisconsin-based Company who has supported the needs of global outdoor enthusiasts since 1905, Wigwam Mills salutes Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, and the Wisconsin legislature, for the foresight to establish our State’s new Office of Outdoor Recreation," Newhard said. "We are thankful for the additional momentum this office can bring to Wigwam and other Wisconsin outdoor brands in the way of recognition and growth both nationally and internationally."


A lake in North Carolina surrounded by red, yellow, and green trees

New Hampshire scores outdoor recreation office

New Hampshire followed in the footsteps of 15 other states by creating its own office of outdoor recreation, signed into legislation on Thursday by Gov. Chris Sununu. “New Hampshire’s low tax environment and booming economy are a beacon for business in the northeast,” Sununu said ...read more

Man watching pink sky at McAfee Knob, Virginia

Now there are 15 outdoor recreation offices in the U.S.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam climbed into a kayak along the marshy shore of Carvins Cove Natural Reserve on Thursday. Wearing a "Virginia is for outdoor lovers" T-shirt, he spent part of his day paddling the lake, enjoying one of the places that will be protected by a new state ...read more

Golden Gate Bridge against pink sky

California gets its own recreation office

Beaches, mountains, desert, plains, forests—California has it all and is well-known as a western playground for all types of adventure. Yesterday, the legislature recognized the need to protect and promote the state's precious land. They unanimously passed a bill to create the ...read more

Woman in a canoe at sunset at Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Minnesota sets up outdoor recreation task force

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, ...read more

Yosemite Valley with snow and red trees

An update on California's push for a recreation office

Despite former California Governor Jerry Brown's kibosh of a bill to create an outdoor recreation office, an advocacy group is stepping up to see the legislation through under the new administration. Next Monday, California Outdoor Recreation Partnership (CORP) will lead an ...read more

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

axie navas rop

New Mexico hired its first director for the Office of Outdoor Recreation

New Mexico became the 13th state to establish an Office of Outdoor Recreation in April, and on Monday, the first director started work. Veteran journalist Axie Navas will lead the state's efforts to create a booming outdoor recreation economy, along with the first-of-its-kind ...read more

Smiling man in a camoflage cap and sunglasses

Utah has a new director of Office of Outdoor Recreation

After an extensive two-month search to replace Tom Adams, Gov. Herbert announced the new director of Utah’s Office of Outdoor Recreation: Patrick “Pitt” Grew. Grew spent his childhood in the mountains of Utah, skiing every weekend with his parents who both worked in the ski ...read more

A lighthouse on the rocky coast of Acadia National Park in Maine

BREAKING: Maine poised to get OREC office

Maine is getting closer to leveraging its billion-dollar outdoor recreation economy through an official state office. Today, the state's Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) in a news alert announced the welcoming of Carolann Ouellette as director of the "newly ...read more