WGA's newly elected Chair, Gov. Gregoire, launches "Get Out West!" initiative


June 30, 2011

Contact: Mark Rupp (Gov. Gregoire's office) at 202-624-3691

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho -- Gov. Christine Gregoire (Wash.), the newly elected Chair of the Western Governors' Association, announced today the launch of the WGA's "Get Out West!" initiative. Gov. Gary Herbert (Utah) was elected Vice Chairman.

"Many of our friends and neighbors have lost their connection to the land just beyond the city limits - especially the younger generation and poorer, inner city residents," Gregoire said in her remarks at the close of the WGA's Annual Meeting. "I plan to help restore that connection through the Get Out West! initiative."

Gov. Herbert gave his full support to the effort.

"I am very pleased to work with Gov. Gregoire and our Western colleagues to promote tourism and outdoor recreation in the West," he said. "WGA can play a key role in boosting businesses and jobs by highlighting and helping to grow these vital sectors of the West's economy.

The goals of the initiative are to:

  • Highlight the importance of the recreational and tourism sectors of the Western economy;
  • Support efforts to boost recreation, conservation, healthy communities and tourism in the Western states by partnering with and putting a spotlight on existing successful efforts; and
  • Improve public policies that facilitate tourism, recreation and conservation in the West.
Gregoire said there are many great opportunities for partnering with the federal government and the private sector on this initiative.

"We must work with the many small businesses in communities across the West that sell sandwiches and bait, charter boats, rent hotel rooms, and offer RV and camping space," she said. "Working together, we can share best practices and build on our successes."

Gregoire said she wants to issue challenges and give awards for the most innovative and successful efforts. They could include awards for the best:

  • conservation efforts of private companies and recreation groups;
  • public or non-profit efforts to improve recreational opportunities for low income and minority communities;
  • youth into nature efforts by outdoor associations and groups; and volunteer conservation efforts.
"Together, we can create a new dynamic for the 21st Century that conserves our natural wonders and creates prosperity for our rural communities by connecting more people with the land," she said. "We can help move our communities toward a bright economic future - one that builds on the natural beauty and strength of the West."

Read more about the "Get Out West!" initiative at www.westgov.org, sign-up to receive updates and learn more about how to participate.

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