Michael Anderson cleans a river in Minnesota by canoe; photo credit: Paul Twedt

Minnesota Joins Growing List of State Outdoor Recreation Offices

Minnesota’s Outdoor Recreation Task Force will make recommendations on what the state can do to ‘expand the benefits of outdoor recreation for the economy, environmental stewardship, and quality of life.’

This week, Minnesota joined 16 other states in organizing a task force or office to support and grow outdoor recreation opportunities. The Outdoor Recreation Task Force represents a joint initiative of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Explore Minnesota.

Like other offices around the country, it will make recommendations across state agencies on how best to improve access to the outdoors, communicate the benefits of spending time outside, and bolster the overall outdoor recreation economy.

“Outdoor recreation provides substantial social, economic, and health-related benefits to Minnesotans,” Governor Tim Walz said in a statement.

“This task force represents a ‘big-tent’ effort to bring together a community of leaders who will make recommendations to make sure Minnesota is second-to-none in outdoor recreation and economic opportunity.”

Minnesota Outdoor Recreation Task Force

To assemble the Task Force, the DNR and Explore Minnesota will accept applications to fill its 20-member panel. Applications to serve on the Task Force are due January 10.

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Once organized, the Task Force will begin in earnest to submit its first recommendations in fall 2020 on how the state can expand recreation opportunities.

Despite brutal winters, the state is renowned for its abundant lakes, excellent cycling infrastructure, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness — among other attractions. It’s also where GearJunkie was founded and still maintains its business headquarters.

“This represents a great moment for the State of Minnesota, by recognizing and giving a voice to the $9.6 billion economic impact of outdoor recreation and the more than 100,000 jobs it creates in the state,” said Matt Gruhn, president of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas.

Minnesota now stands with 16 other states across the political spectrum that have formed outdoor recreation offices: Washington, Oregon, Vermont, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Carolina, Maine, New Mexico, Michigan, Nevada, Wisconsin, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Maryland.

Click here to apply to serve on the Outdoor Recreation Task Force.

Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie - from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.