Western governors are making recreation the center of this week's meeting in Washington and today they are talking about how to get kids and teenagers outdoors.
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter isn’t participating but he has been a big supporter of efforts to help develop programs that encourage the next generation to live outside as much as he did. Several of Otter’s colleagues agreed to participate in a pilot project that aims to increase park visits by hiring a youth outdoor recreation outreach coordinator.
"As the West has become increasingly urbanized, many of our young people have lost the connection to the outdoors," said Washington Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire, who chairs the Western Governors Association. "Unfortunately, many kids are not experiencing the beauty of the natural world around us, unaware of our awe inspiring state and national parks, our forests and our rivers."
Here's an idea, free park passes and fishing licenses.
Earlier the governors released an economic report that showed recreation created $646 billion in national sales and services in 2011, nearly double the size of pharmaceuticals and motor vehicles/parts. Recreation is as big as the financial services and insurance industry and outpatient health care, said the report commissioned by the governors and both motorized and non-motorized recreation groups