LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today introduced Brad Garmon as the new director of Michigan’s Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry. Garmon most recently was the interim CEO of the Michigan Environmental Council in Lansing. Before that, he served as the council’s director of Conservation and Emerging Issues, a role created specifically to support and build stronger alliances between outdoor recreation, economic development and natural resource stewardship.
Garmon also has served on Michigan’s State Parks and Outdoor Recreation Blue Ribbon Panel; advised the state on its public land strategy, water strategy and tourism strategic plan; and been a member of the Michigan Heritage Leadership Council and the state’s Pigeon River Country Advisory Council.
“Historically, Michigan has been a national leader in conservation and recreation issues – from inspiring a young Ernest Hemingway to creating the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund that’s become a national model for recreation funding,” Garmon said.
“Now it’s time to apply that tradition of national leadership to the outdoor recreation economy, which is 2.2% of the national GDP already and growing faster than the economy overall,” he said. “Michigan has several major outdoor vehicle, gear and apparel manufacturers headquartered right here that need workers, and lots of small or startup businesses in this space that are positioned to grow. This office will help make that recruitment and growth happen.”
Chris Lampen-Crowell, co-owner of Gazelle Sports and member of the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Council, said the hiring of Garmon as full-time director for Michigan’s Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry is a critical step for integrating, aligning and supporting the state’s diverse outdoor economy.
“As a small business owner with great love for our state’s outdoors, I feel strongly that we not only promote and protect the outdoors, but support the business communities that passionately provide the tools, knowledge and guidance to experience Michigan’s vast outdoor experiences,” Lampen-Crowell said. “The businesses that make up Michigan’s outdoor economy now have the ability to play a larger role in how the State works to support us, but even more important will be how we will build on the emerging opportunities to grow our businesses through an amplified effort together.”