Utah Outdoor Recreation Office One Step Closer to Being a Reality

(KCPW News) Legislation that would create the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation made its way out of the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee on Thursday, with a favorable recommendation. Senate Bill 73 builds on Governor Gary Herbert’s call to create the office during his State of the State address last month.

“Outdoor recreation with its 5.8 billion economic impact is fundamental to our culture our health our economy and our lifestyle,” Herbert said at the time.

Republican Senator Jerry Stevenson, of Davis County, sponsored the bill to create the Outdoor Recreation Office, which will cost the state $100,000 per year. Alan Matheson, Environmental Advisor to Governor Herbert said that the new office would need to balance a number of interests.

“It’s been set up to be a convener to bring in local interests so that those most affected by land use decisions have a good voice in the state and [to balance] development and recreation,” Matheson said.

Lone opposition to the measure came from the committee’s Chair, Senator Margaret Dayton.

“I’m frustrated by the expansion of government,” she explained. “I feel like we have very effective people coordinating that now.”

The legislation passed on a 2 to 1 vote and now moves to the Senate for a second reading.