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Secretary’s Message: May 2018

Commission Hits the Ground Running

Photo of Secretary Mark Belton and Parks Superintendent Nita Settina at campgoundRecently the Maryland Outdoor Recreation Economic Commission held its first meeting – and we’re ready to hit the road.

Created by Governor Larry Hogan last fall, this commission will develop innovative strategies to market Maryland’s unique outdoor and heritage recreation brand, as well as recommend initiatives to attract and retain outdoor recreation companies and revenue.

With 17 commissioners set to meet through December 2019, plus Commerce Secretary Mike Gill and me as co-chairs, we’re tasked to help ensure that our state’s natural heritage is strengthened, bringing about new businesses, increased visitation and tourism, and ultimately enhance and preserve our natural resources for this and future generations.

One of the first things we determined is we can’t do that sitting in a room in Annapolis – so we’re taking our show on the road, to see firsthand how outdoor recreation plays a role in our local economies. During this first year of operation, the commission will conduct outreach sessions around the state to engage stakeholders where they live, work and play. In May we’ll focus on Frederick and Washington counties.

We’ve always known the lands, waters and wildlife of Maryland to be unique treasures that can’t be replicated. Now more people are realizing that stewardship and conservation of our natural resources can go hand in hand with economic benefits. As I confirmed with colleagues and outdoor enthusiasts at a recent National Outdoor Recreation Conference, this is a nationwide movement, and Maryland is at the forefront! Only eight other states have created similar outdoor economic commissions.

This is an exciting opportunity and a great time to be involved in blazing this new trail for Maryland.

If anyone has any questions about the commission, please feel free to contact Kelly Collins at 410-260-8912.