The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Explore Minnesota are partnering to launch a new Outdoor Recreation Task Force. The group will make recommendations about how Minnesota can connect more people to the health and wellness benefits of outdoor recreation, improve equitable access to outdoor recreation, and better support the state’s thriving outdoor recreation economy.
The agencies are accepting applications to serve on the task force until Jan. 10.
There is mounting scientific evidence of the significant health and wellness benefits of outdoor recreation. In addition, the impact of outdoor recreation to local, state and national economies is well-documented, as is the importance of Minnesota’s outdoor recreation opportunities as a key motivator for tourists to visit our state.
“Outdoor recreation provides substantial social, economic, and health-related benefits to Minnesotans,” said Governor Tim Walz. “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.”
Around the country, 16 states have created offices or commissions on outdoor recreation as a way to collaborate across agency and organizational boundaries to expand the benefits of outdoor recreation for the economy, environmental stewardship, and quality of life.
Minnesota’s task force will make its recommendations to the DNR and Explore Minnesota by next fall about what Minnesota can do to enhance outdoor recreation opportunities.
“Interest in outdoor recreation is growing nationally due to the many economic, public health, and social benefits outdoor activities and public lands bring to communities,” said DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen. “New research shows what Minnesotans have always intuitively known: that life is better when you spend some time outdoors. We want to ensure that Minnesota welcomes all people—regardless of ability or background—to participate in that higher quality of life.”