By Jerry Cornfield
Gov. Jay Inslee will soon sign an executive order aimed at expanding the state’s outdoor recreation industry which produces billions of dollars in spending and tax revenues each year. He could act as early as this week.
Inslee’s order will establish a “blue-ribbon” task force to explore ways to better promote the outdoor recreation and tourism sectors. Task force members will also be asked to suggest long-term sources of funding for managing the state’s cash-strapped state parks system and properties controlled by the departments of Fish &Wildlife and Natural Resources.
Outdoor recreation is a big money deal in Washington. A report issued last year by the Outdoor Industry Association found $22.5 billion is spent annually in the state on outdoor recreation. The industry supports 226,600 jobs and generates $1.6 billion in state and local tax revenues, according to the report.
Inslee announced his intentions last week at an event hosted by the Big Tent Outdoor Coalition at the offices of the Department of Natural Resources.
The coalition is made up of three dozen Washington for-profit, non-profit and government organizations. Among the members are the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, American Whitewater, Back Country Horsemen of Washington, Bicycle Alliance of Washington, REI, The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land and The Wilderness Society.