The Utah House overwhelmingly passed a bill Wednesday to create an office to draw in more tourism dollars by coordinating with state leaders and the federal government to promote outdoor recreation.
Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, worked with Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, to sponsor SB73 — a measure that creates the Outdoor Recreation Office.
It passed the House 60-10.
The agency would be housed under the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and would be charged with developing data on the economic impacts of outdoor recreation in the state. Its creation fulfills a proposal in a 59-page report released by the governor’s office in January, outlining preservation of the environment while balancing the needs of the public to take advantage of outdoor recreation.
Noel said it was “a fallacy” to think the development of public lands, protecting the environment and using areas for recreation couldn’t all coexist.
Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, said she didn’t agree with everything Noel said, but supported the bill as it promotes tourism dollars.
“This is big money,” Arent said. “It is important to our state.”