REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) praised the launch of a new initiative by the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) titled “Get Out West,” which was announced at the association’s annual meeting June 30. The initiative was championed by new WGA Chair and Washington State Gov. Christine Gregoire.
The goals of the initiative announced by Gov. Gregoire at the WGA annual meeting in Coeur d’ Alene, ID are to:
• Highlight the importance of the recreational and tourism sectors of the Western economy;
• Support efforts to boost recreation, conservation, healthy communities and tourism in the Western states by partnering with and putting a spotlight on existing successful efforts; and
• Improve public policies that facilitate tourism, recreation and conservation in the West.
“REI commends Governor Gregoire for the exciting vision she is championing as the new chair of the Western Governors’ Association,” said Sally Jewell, president and CEO of outdoor retailer REI. “The ‘Get Out West’ initiative brings much deserved recognition to the importance of recreation and tourism in the Western states and seeks to ensure continued growth in these activities for current and future generations. We look forward to working with the governors, Outdoor Industry Association and other partners to support this important initiative.”
In 2006, Outdoor Industry Association produced the industry’s first economic study, which showed that active outdoor recreation increasingly fuels the U.S. economy and is a primary driver in regional and local economies across the country. The growth in activities such as hiking, paddling, hunting, fishing and wildlife watching contributes $730 billion annually to the U.S. economy, drives $289 billion in retail sales and supports 6.5 million jobs.