BEND, OR -- Oregon Governor Kate Brown introduced a "Roadmap to the Outdoors" initiative in Bend on Tuesday, along with First Gentleman Dan Little. As a child, Brown says, she spent a lot of time outdoors, "I had access because my parents were avid outdoor enthusiasts and skiers. I had access because my dad was a doctor and we had resources, frankly, to be out there skiing. And, I had access because of my white privilege." Speaking at the Outdoor Recreation Summit in Bend, Brown told the crowd, "It's so important to me and to Dan that we make sure that everyone, everyone, has access to the beauty of outdoor Oregon."
Little is leading the "roadmap" initiative, "The overall goal is to make sure that everybody feels comfortable if they want to go out hiking, there's good transportation, they're able to have access to gear, funding, all those different pieces." He tells KBND News, "My goal is to get as many people out, and part of that is the whole health aspects of the outdoors, so the mental, physical, and spiritual parts." Little believes there's a connection between childhood obesity and a lack of spending time outdoors, "Because they're spending so much time looking at computer screens and video games and so, all that's leading to people being inactive, and especially kids, so just focusing it on those youth." He adds, "I've always tried to be a healthy person, but every time I go outdoors, it always makes me feel so much better."
Brown created the Office of Outdoor Recreation in 2017 to help coordinate all aspects of Oregon's outdoor recreation sector. Tuesday's summit brought together representatives from the industry in an effort to inspire action to advance equality in outdoor access. Outdoor recreation provides 172,000 direct jobs across the state.