Hunting and fishing are among the activities that “strengthen the social and cultural fabric of communities and provide important and valuable contributions to urban and especially rural economies across the state.”
So acknowledged Washington Governor Jay Inslee this week.
It comes from an executive order that created the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Parks and Outdoor Recreation.
The group, which will meet for the first time April 9, includes George Harris of the Northwest Marine Trade Association, Joe Stohr of the Department of Fish & Wildlife, and Dale Denney, the Colville-based hunting outfitter, among others.
A press release from the governor’s office yesterday points out that fishing and hunting as well as hiking, camping, wildlife watching, skiing, four-wheeling, biking, etc., “directly supports 227,000 jobs and generates $22.5 billion in annual spending on things like equipment, lodging and apparel.”
The task force is charged with figuring out ways to help out the state’s outdoor industry and expand it, “promote and expand recreational fishing and hunting opportunities as a way of advancing local economies,” foster outdoor activities and increase environmental understanding, and come up with long-term sources of funding for state parks and wildlife areas.
“This isn’t just about Washington’s economy. This is also about a generational legacy in our state,” Inslee, a Democrat, said in a press release. “We need to leave a Washington that allows every single one of us – young or old – to experience, play and relax in some of the most beautiful trails, parks and lakes in the world. I know we can find a way forward to making sure Washington’s beautiful outdoor spaces are promoted and preserved for generations to come.”