In late October, five new states signed on to something called the Confluence Accords, joining a coalition of now 13 states that have created dedicated outdoor-recreation offices. Yawn, right? Who really cares about bureaucratic underlings shaking hands? In this case, we all should. The steam building behind state rec offices is a rare positive piece of political action. Governors are acknowledging not only the economic power of outdoor recreation—an $887 billion industry—but its dependence on healthy landscapes. They’re doing bipartisan work to shore up rural economies, like in solidly red Wyoming, where recreation is the second-biggest economy. And they’re formally committing to the physical and mental health benefits of recreating outside.
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