If you live in the United States, time outside probably means something to you. Of the entire U.S. population, nearly half of people age 6 and older participated in an outdoor activity in 2017, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. And a growing body of research shows that a regular nature fix can help reduce mental illness symptoms, promote well-being and enable us to live healthier lives. As more Americans prioritize time outside, state leaders are adapting to the growing demand by forming new offices of outdoor recreation aimed at improving outdoor access, promoting conservation, growing the outdoor recreation economy and more.
To learn about the state offices of outdoor recreation, read the Co-op Journal’s previous coverage:
- State Offices Are Changing the Conversation Around Outdoor Recreation
- New Hampshire Becomes 16th State to Add Dedicated Outdoor Recreation Office
- Five States Join Formal Commitment to Grow Outdoor Recreation
- State Offices Get Boost From New Recreation-Focused Network
- Bipartisan States Join Forces to Grow Outdoor Recreation
And follow this at-a-glance guide to see the current state offices and when they were formed:
State Offices of Outdoor Recreation by the Year
- Utah is the first state to establish an Office of Outdoor Recreation.
- Washington stands up a Task Force on Parks and Outdoor Recreation. It calls for an office. In 2015, legislation creates a Policy Advisor for Outdoor Recreation and Economic Development.
- Colorado forms its Outdoor Recreation Industry Office.
- Wyoming forms a task force to study the state’s recreation needs. The study recommends the creation of an office, and in 2017 the Outdoor Recreation Office is established.
- Maryland’s Outdoor Recreation Economic Commission is created.
- Montana forms its Office of Outdoor Recreation.
- North Carolina establishes an Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry.
- Oregon creates its Office of Outdoor Recreation.
- Vermont forms VOREC—the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative.
- Maine’s Office of Outdoor Recreation is established.
- Michigan forms an Outdoor Recreation Advisory Council with an Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry following in 2019.
- New Mexico creates its Outdoor Recreation Division and Outdoor Equity Fund.
- Nevada establishes its Division of Outdoor Recreation.
- Wisconsin signs off on a budget that allows the formation of an Office of Outdoor Recreation within the Department of Tourism.
- Virginia establishes its Office of Outdoor Recreation.
- New Hampshire forms its Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry Development within the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs.
- Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources and Travel Promotion Authority jointly announce a plan to run an Outdoor Recreation Task Force.