MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Whether it's winter or summer, throughout the state and especially here in the U.P., Michigan leaders can see outdoor life is very important to Michigan residents.
This is why Governor Gretchen Whitmer created the first Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry in May 2019 to support the outdoor recreation economy in Michigan.
"We're just trying to focus on this economy and define it so that we can really focus on job growth,” said Brad Garmon, the Director of Michigan’s Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry.
Garmon says this starts with their office localizing all that's included in the outdoor recreation industry, seeing what companies in the state are currently doing and possibly recruiting other businesses outside the state to join.
"Pulling that out of the weeds and trying to find those companies and showing them the size and the growth in this industry is part of and part of why I'm up here,” explained Garmon.
Garmon is also interested in analyzing where Michigan is now with its outdoor recreation economy to other western states.
Garmon says this will help him and his team figure out what the state does well, and how it could possibly attract even more young professionals to the state.
"We have more product engineers than in any other state,” explained Garmon. “We should be evolving the next ski and the next advanced materials that are going to make the next outdoor product better."
Garmon says this will help create more jobs.
"Especially in rural areas like the U.P. and northern Michigan, places where we have factories that maybe suppliers to the auto sector and others, they can make a variety of components that really fit well with the outdoor recreation economy."
"It's going to help Michigan capitalize on all its opportunities and also help us quantify some things,” said Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Deputy Public Information Officer, John Pepin.
Garmon plans to share what he learns while here in the U.P. to Michigan’s Economic Development Corporation to get started on this very promising future for the state.