Utah is stepping up its efforts to preserve its natural beauty. Wednesday morning, Governor Gary Herbert released what he is calling “The State of Utah Outdoor Recreation Vision."
The outdoor industry plays a major roll in Utah’s economy. In 2011 the Outdoor industry sector contributed nearly 6 billion dollars to the state’s economy. Now, Governor Gary Herbert says its time to establish guiding principles to enhance outdoor recreation for Utahns as well as tourists.
“There are some critical issues for us to address, the challenge is going to be finding the appropriate balance between protecting our favored recreational areas and the development that needs to happen on the public land.”
The 59- page- vision calls for a creating an Office of Outdoor Recreation as well as naming a Director of Outdoor Recreation. Herbert says the idea for the vision began last summer when Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the Outdoor Industry Association, asked the Governor if he any sort of strategic plan for outdoor recreation.
Now, six months later, and on the heels of the Outdoor Retailer Convention announcing they will be extending their contract in Salt Lake City for two more years, Huglemyer says Wednesday’s announcement shows the state is committed to working together with the outdoor industry on several issues.
“We’re very encouraged that the plan recognizes that solid data about public lands and its use in Utah is essential that Utah’s natural resources must be managed in a balanced way. That strong leadership and a balanced approach is necessary to diffuse the contention”
Huglemyer admits there are issues the groups do still disagree on like stream access issues, federal control issues and says the vision will only be as valuable if it is allowed to grow include other issues in the future.