State leaders from across the United States gathered in Little Rock, Arkansas for the Annual Policy Summit to collaborate on policies to advance outdoor recreation, according to a press release.
The event was organized through the Outdoor Recreation Learning Network of the National Governors Association (NGA), launched in 2019 to allow governors and their outdoor recreation staff to explore strategies to leverage unique natural, cultural and historical resources to help promote economic, health and environmental benefits.
“Arkansas is The Natural State, and our beautiful outdoor spaces are among our greatest assets,” said NGA Chairman Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson in the release.
“From hiking in the Ozark Mountains to fishing and floating our beautiful rivers to even digging your own diamond, Arkansas parks have something for everyone. I’m proud to celebrate the natural beauty of Arkansas and to join other states in working to cherish and enjoy the outdoor spaces that contribute so much to our health and economic well-being.”
Moreover, Arkansas, Maryland, and New Hampshire joined the Confluence of States, bringing the number of Confluence states to 16. The bipartisan organization seeks to advance conservation and stewardship, education and workforce training, economic development, and public health and wellness.
Other state members are Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.
Before the pandemic, outdoor recreation was growing faster than the economy as a whole in every indicator. Despite bottlenecks caused by COVID-19, in 2020, the outdoor recreation industry generated $689 billion for the U.S. economy, accounted for 1.8% of GDP, and created 4.3 million jobs.
In the release, NGA noted that outdoor recreation is an essential economic multiplier, saying that outdoor recreation helps develop economies, increases rural prosperity, improves public health outcomes, and promotes environmental stewardship and responsible resource development.
“Governors across the country recognize the importance of this industry and are uniquely positioned to support its growth through state policies, programs, and incentives,” the release noted.
For more information about the Outdoor Recreation Learning Network, please visit www.nga.org/outdoors.
About the National Governors Association
Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the bipartisan organization of the nation’s 55 Governors. Through NGA, governors share best practices, address national and state interest issues, and share innovative solutions that improve state government and support the principles of federalism.