Summit focuses on outdoor industry

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The Montana Office of Outdoor Recreation is hosting the Business of Outdoor Recreation Summit in December in Whitefish.

The summit is expected to bring together leaders, community members, recreation and conservation groups from Montana and the greater Crown of the Continent, including Alberta and British Columbia to provide a platform to discuss promoting and strengthening outdoor recreation and the economic activity it supports, according to a release on the event. The summit will be Dec. 4-5.

Gov. Steve Bullock recently announced the summit.

“Outdoor recreation, especially on our public lands, is central to Montana’s economy and Montanans’ way of life,” Bullock said. “We’ll be bringing folks together from all across the state to identify opportunities to further invest in our outdoors in order to keep our economy thriving and keep Montana the best place to live, work, play and raise a family.”

Bullock created the Montana Office of Outdoor Recreation to capitalize on and grow the outdoor recreation economy in Montana. Montana’s outdoor recreation economy generates over $7.1 billion in annual consumer spending and employs over 71,000 people each year.

The summit panels, workshops and keynotes are expected to cover a variety of topics related to outdoor recreation and business.

“The summit will unite our collective vision for conservation and outdoor recreation in the region,” said Alan Myers-Davis, director of development for Whitefish Legacy Partners. “Sharing strategies to develop, fund, and maintain on-the-ground projects is invaluable to our quality of life and economic resilience. Help shape the future of our public lands and join the conversations December.”

Sheena Pate, Project Coordinator, Crown of the Continent Geotourism Council said the impact of outdoor recreation on the economy and well-being of communities in Montana and the Greater Crown of the Continent, including British Columbia and Alberta, is undeniable.

“Not only is it consistently the top reason people choose to live and visit, but it has become a powerful tool in industry and employee recruitment and retention,” Pate said. “We’re bringing together diverse stakeholders to ensure the value of one of our leading economic drivers is understood, supported and planned for. Not just for the industry’s sake, but because we are all inherently tied to the health of the landscape.”

The Business of Outdoor Recreation Summit is incorporating a competitive funding award program supporting Montana organizations with on-the-ground conservation and recreation projects. Six finalists will be selected and spotlighted at the Summit, where attendees will vote on two winning projects. Each winning organization will walk away with $5,000 to support their important work.

Eligible nonprofit organizations must submit an application to info@crownofthecontinent.net with MTOOR SUMMIT AWARD- Project Name in subject line by the deadline at 11:59 pm on Nov. 8. The Summit will also kick off celebrating 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and National Trails Systems and culminate with welcoming the public to Whitefish Performing Arts Center for a fireside chat, film festival and launch of National Parks Conservation Association’s Centennial. This portion will include a fireside chat with Patagonia’s Lisa Pike and a broad selection of films celebrating recreation, conservation and community. Public fireside chat and film festival tickets go on sale Nov. 1.

For more information, visit http://business.mt.gov/Office-of-Outdoor-Recreation.

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