Incline Village, Nevada – State-level outdoor recreation leaders representing the Confluence of States gathered at the Outdoor Media Summit alongside industry partners to elect organization leadership, discuss key issues affecting the $689 billion outdoor recreation economy, and strategize about the continued advancement of the outdoor economy through their engagement with the Outdoor Recreation Industry Confluence of States Accords.
Brad Garmon, Executive Director of the Michigan Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, was elected Chair of the Confluence of States Coalition for 2023. Carolann Ouellette, Director of the Maine Office of Outdoor Recreation, was elected to serve as Vice-Chair.
“The outdoor recreation economy is a powerful, unifying force for better health, good jobs, and community-based investment all across the country,” said Brad Garmon, Executive Director of the Michigan Outdoor Recreation Industry Office. “I’m honored to work with leaders in the Confluence of States and with our outdoor industry partners over the next year to develop and refine the range of programs and tools that our states use to enable more outdoor businesses to prosper and empower more families and communities to discover, love and support our nation’s rich endowment of parks, trails, lands and waters.”
16 states are currently members of the Confluence of States, having committed to supporting the outdoor recreation economy on behalf of their respective governors. Since the formation of the Confluence of States in 2018, the Chair position of the organization has been held by the leaders in Colorado, Oregon, Montana, New Mexico, and mostly recently Nevada. Additional members include Arkansas, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming.
Working alongside outdoor recreation industry leaders, the Confluence of States member states are guided by four pillars of outdoor economy success:
- Conservation and Stewardship
- Education and Workforce Training
- Economic Development
- Public Health and Wellness
The leadership positions moving to states in the Great Lakes region and on the East Coast highlight the growing awareness and relevance of the outdoor recreation economy as it exists in states differently across the country. (The full list of Confluence member states can be found at: https://www.confluenceofstates.com/our-team )
“The Accords are both a guide and an open invitation to every state in the nation,” said Colin Robertson, Administrator of the Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation, and the outgoing chair of the group. “As state directors, we have worked together over the last year – and even more deeply over these last few days here on the shores of Lake Tahoe – to ensure that the outdoor recreation economy is understood and supported in both urban and rural communities, and in a way that’s relevant to people from all walks of life in every corner of the country.”
U.S. federal data show that the outdoor recreation economy accounted for $689 billion of economic output for the nation in 2020, representing 1.8% of U.S. GDP and 4.3 million jobs (3% of all employment in the United States).
“The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable is delighted to see Brad Garmon and Carolann Ouellette assume leadership of the Confluence of States,” said Chris Perkins, Senior Director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, a coalition of made up of 36 outdoor recreation trade associations — as well as other nonprofit organizations and business entities — serving more than 110,000 businesses. “These state leaders are uniquely positioned to advance the benefits of outdoor recreation, from business recruitment and retention, increased visitation, and economic activity, improved public health and wellness benefits, equitable access for communities who have been underserved in outdoor assets in the past, and climate mitigation and adaptation benefits that come from healthy green and blue infrastructure. We look forward to working with the new Confluence of States leadership in the days ahead to continue welcoming more people and business to the outdoors and expanding the positive impacts of this industry for people and communities.”
The Confluence of States is a nonpartisan organization developing a national platform to grow the outdoor recreation industry, protect our nation’s wild places and transform conservation into a driver for economic prosperity.
Michigan Outdoor Recreation Industry Office
Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation