Department of Natural Resources
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Natural Resources Commission have announced the formation of an advisory body to identify new collaborative opportunities and further broaden a base of support for outdoor recreation and natural resources stewardship within the state. The Outdoor Recreation Advisory Council is composed of leaders in Michigan’s outdoor recreation business community, reflecting the manufacturing, retail and service sectors, as well as employers in health, community finance and other leading industries.
The council’s creation recognizes the tremendous economic contributions of the state’s outdoor recreation opportunities and businesses and accessible natural resources, as well as the positive effect those collective assets have on Michigan’s quality of life.
“Enjoying the great outdoors in many different ways is a significant driver of our state’s economy, and a big part of what draws people to visit, live and work in Michigan,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “The creation of the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Council will pay dividends in both expanding the outdoor recreation economy and further supporting the enjoyment and stewardship of natural resources for all of Michigan.”
Millions of people participate in some form of outdoor recreation every year, and a recent DNR study found Michiganders spent 2.6 billion days a year engaged in these activities. A national Outdoor Industry Association study states that outdoor recreation generates $26.6 billion in consumer spending each year in Michigan and supports 232,000 jobs.
“This effort will create partnerships that can grow the outdoor recreation economy, as well as increase recreational opportunities and access for everyone – residents and visitors alike,” said NRC Commissioner Chris Tracy, who will chair the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Council. “It’s a win-win situation.”
The DNR also plans to hold public regional listening sessions to learn more about the needs and goals of outdoor recreation businesses and unlock potentially innovative ideas about delivering quality outdoor recreation experiences
“There are many potential connections to improve the relevancy of natural resources and outdoor recreation for Michigan,” said Vicki Pontz, NRC chair. “Recommendations that support and improve talent and business recruitment and retention in our state, connect outdoor recreation to healthy living, and anticipate emerging trends in recreation, are immensely valuable.”
The Outdoor Recreation Advisory Council is modeled on similar efforts in eight other states. The Michigan council will be the first in the Midwest.
DNR Director Keith Creagh and Pontz jointly appointed members to the council. In addition to Tracy, they include:
The council also will benefit from two ex-officio members representing state agencies:
Part of this council’s charge is to identify data-collection mechanisms to provide better service to outdoor recreation enthusiasts and offer opportunities to entrepreneurs. The council also will recommend ways to identify potential improvements for outdoor recreation infrastructure in order to satisfy outdoor recreation demand in Michigan.
The council will make recommendations to the DNR and Natural Resources Commission on ways to improve partnerships, collaborative strategies and policies that will increase the outdoor recreation economy, employment and consumer spending, and support conservation and public recreation assets.