Michigan joins national effort to promote outdoor recreation industry

DNR biologist Nick Kalejs led a short kayak expedition on the Muskegon River through the Muskegon State Game Area as part of the DNR’s Wetland Wonders Challenge II, a program designed to foster appreciation for wetlands and Michigan’s managed waterfowl areas. Marie Kuehl.

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today gathered with state, retail and nonprofit representatives of Michigan’s outdoor recreation industry to showcase the industry’s value and preview the move, this October, to officially join the Confluence of States. The Confluence is a growing national effort to build public awareness about the economic, social and public health benefits of outdoor play and provide a unified voice for the diverse businesses and organizations that make up the industry.

Representatives of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Council, Woosah Outfitters and recreation industry leaders joined Whitmer at the Outside Coffee Co. in Grand Rapids for an “Afternoon for the Outdoors.” It was an opportunity to talk about the state’s booming recreation economy, the changing industry landscape and next steps to ensure Michigan is helping to drive the national discussion on outdoor recreation.

“From the Great Lakes to our expansive forest lands to a vast network of trails, Michigan boasts unparalleled natural resources and countless opportunities for outdoor recreation,” Whitmer said. “Our state is well positioned to be a leader in this new effort to support and promote the outdoor recreation economy. By partnering with a consortium of states dedicated to promoting the outdoor recreation industry, we will make sure that our work aligns with others who share our values in prioritizing conservation and stewardship, health and wellness, growing our workforce and strengthening our economy.”

Chris MacInnes is president of Crystal Mountain Ski Resort and co-chair of the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Council. She described the move to elevate the state nationally as “on target.”

“As owner of an outdoor recreation-based business whose value is tied to the character and quality of the natural environment, Michigan’s decision to sign on to the national Confluence Accords is a big deal that we enthusiastically support,” MacInnes said. “We believe it will give Michigan access to best practices of other members, who also value outdoor resources and understand their connection to a thriving state economy and quality of life.”

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