Outdoor Recreation Summit in Whitefish Oct. 10-11

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The Montana Governor’s Office of Outdoor Recreation, in partnership with the Crown of the Continent Geotourism Council and the Montana Access Project, will host the 2019 Business of Outdoor Recreation Summit: Recreation Innovation Lab in Whitefish, Mont. on Oct. 10-11.

The 2019 Innovation Lab will bring together more than 100 local officials, experts and entrepreneurs from across Montana, Alberta and British Columbia to share ways to enhance access to outdoor recreation in “frontcountry” areas.

Local and gateway communities are increasingly looking to offer quality recreation in the “frontcountry” – places considered easy to get to by car or for day trips – because of their vast economic potential.

“There is a wealth of knowledge and creative thinking around creating frontcountry outdoor recreation opportunities in a multitude of communities on differing landscapes—from mountains to prairies, lakes to rivers, and public to private land,” said Rachel VandeVoort, director of the Montana Governor’s Office of Outdoor Recreation. “In this Lab, we will come together and share our unique expertise working as Montanans and neighbors in the Crown region to elevate each other’s well-being and economic vitality.”

Outdoor recreation overall contributes an estimated $7.1 billion to Montana’s economy and brings more than 12.4 million visitors to the state each year. Access to unspoiled nature enhances the quality of life for more than one million Montanans and provides a unique, competitive advantage to recruit new businesses and retain job-creating innovators.

“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,” said Sheena Pate, project coordinator for the Crown of the Continent Geotourism Council. “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.”

Participants will tour three frontcountry recreation projects and will have the chance to enter a Recreation Innovation Award Competition worth $2,500 provided by hunting map innovators onX to support important recreation work.

The Innovation Lab is made possible through REI Co-op, the Outdoor Industry Association, Montana State Parks and many other businesses and organizations that are working to encourage access to outdoor recreation in Montana and surrounding areas.

The Summit will run 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at Grouse Mountain Lodge, 2 Fairway Drive, Whitefish.

To register, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2019-business-of-outdoor-recreation-summit-recreation-innovation-lab-registration-68542150417?aff=efbevent&fbclid=IwAR0eDwt-GffAJ0ppp71oGLIFD6lpC5a2IgviRFpvAIYD24vFsnP6E0_-bXg.

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