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New Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry created in DNR

May 1, 2019


New Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry created in DNR

Building on the strength of the state’s abundant outdoor recreation opportunities, natural spaces to enjoy them and entrepreneurial heritage, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced the creation of the Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry, in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, on behalf of the Michigan Strategic Fund.


“Every year, millions of Michiganders spend their summers swimming and kayaking in our Great Lakes, hiking and biking on our trails, and climbing the dunes on Lake Michigan,” said Gov. Whitmer. “And it’s not just Michiganders, people come here from all over the world because of the outdoor experiences our state has to offer. I want to thank the thousands of industry manufacturers and retail and service-sector businesses who work every day to boost our economy and make Michigan a destination for families all over the world. I’m excited to work with them and everyone else who wants to help protect our natural resources and Michiganders’ public health.”


The new Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry will work to:

         ·Expand the outdoor recreation economy in the state.

         ·Build awareness about the importance and value of the businesses – large and small – that comprise the industry.

         ·Collaborate with industry partners to anticipate emerging recreation trends.

         ·Promote outdoor recreation activities across the state.

         ·Create support for the stewardship of Michigan’s natural resources.


Michigan offers more than 8 million acres of publicly accessible lands, 12,000 miles of trails, and enviable Great Lakes, rivers and streams – there are nearly endless opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy nature. According to DNR Director Dan Eichinger, such opportunities contribute to a better quality of life and help anchor Michigan’s economy.


“Outdoor recreation generates $26.6 billion a year in consumer spending, 232,000 direct jobs, $7.5 billion in wages and salaries, and $2.1 billion in state and local tax revenue,” Eichinger said. “It’s the right time for the Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry. By building even more partnerships across the industry, we can strengthen it from the inside out – and that’s good news for residents and resources, too.”


As Michigan continues to build its reputation as a state that is an ideal place to live, work and play, The Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry will bring together the opportunities for business growth and attraction with the world-class natural environments to use them in. A key component of this effort will be the promotion of Michigan’s outdoor lifestyle and industry through the award-winning Pure Michigan campaign, as well as the new Pure Opportunity business marketing campaign launched by the MEDC in March.


“The impact of the Pure Michigan campaign on both the image and tourism economy of our state has been undeniable,” said Jeff Mason, CEO of MEDC, the state’s chief marketing and business attraction arm that administers programs and performs due diligence on behalf of the Michigan Strategic Fund. “It provides a strong foundation for the Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry to bring together a quality of life message with existing business attraction efforts as we work to not only attract outdoor recreation- based businesses but also the skilled workforce needed across every industry here in Michigan.”


The Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry will be overseen in part by Michigan’s Outdoor Recreation Advisory Council (established in 2018), the first such council in the Midwest. The council makes recommendations to the DNR and the MEDC on ways to improve partnerships, attract businesses, and support conservation and public recreation assets.


“An office like this, dedicated to bringing greater focus on the economic impact of Michigan’s outdoor recreation, is critical to the industry,” said Linda Hubbard, president and COO of work and outdoor apparel manufacturer Carhartt, Inc., who also serves on the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Council. “Outdoor recreation cuts across industry outfitters, retailers and service providers, as well as the healthcare and insurance sectors with an interest in residents’ improved physical, emotional and social health.”


Kristin Phillips, DNR Marketing and Outreach Division chief, will serve as director of the Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry, in addition to her current role. Phillips has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, communications and business sales in both the state government and private sectors. She currently directs DNR marketing and education efforts and sales systems. Phillips enjoys hiking, trail running, kayaking and camping, and frequently can be found outdoors with her family.


Learn more about the new Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry at


The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit . For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at . Join the conversation on: Facebook  Instagram  LinkedIn , and Twitter. 


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to