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Massachusetts Appoints First Outdoor Recreation Director Amid Growing Industry

In a significant move, Massachusetts has appointed Paul Jahnige as its first outdoor recreation director. 

This decision underscores the state’s commitment to enhancing its vast network of beaches, parks, trails, and other recreational spaces. Jahnige, with his 25 years of experience, is expected to bring a fresh perspective to the state’s outdoor offerings.

Outdoor recreation, encompassing activities from fishing to hiking, has long been recognized for its physical and mental benefits. 

Beyond individual well-being, these activities serve as platforms for education, team building, and community bonding. The emphasis is on collective experiences, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their athletic prowess, can partake and enjoy.

The economic implications of outdoor recreation are profound. In 2021, the sector contributed a staggering $454.0 billion to the nation’s GDP. Massachusetts, with its rich natural landscapes, has been at the forefront of this industry. The state’s outdoor recreation economy added $9.5 billion in value in 2021 alone, marking a growth of 24% from the previous year.

The recent establishment of the Office of Outdoor Recreation in Massachusetts further solidifies the state’s commitment to this sector. 

A report from Mass Live revealed that as the state’s outdoor recreation czar, Jahnige will work with several state agencies, including the Departments of Fish and Game and Conservation and Recreation, as well as the Massachusetts Marketing Partnership, and the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.

The appointment of Paul Jahnige and the establishment of the Office of Outdoor Recreation mark a new chapter for Massachusetts. As the state continues to prioritize and invest in outdoor activities, residents and visitors can look forward to enhanced recreational experiences, economic growth, and a deeper connection with nature.

According to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, the office was established in December by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to promote and expand outdoor recreation, and make it as welcoming and inclusive. 


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