Conservative lawmakers in Nevada are opening the new legislative session with a call to create a new state-level Office of Outdoor Recreation.
According to Public News Service, lawmakers hope the new office will help to protect public lands and support the businesses that depend upon them for their livelihood.
A 2018 study found that Nevada’s outdoor industry supported 87,000 jobs and generated $12.6 billion in consumer spending, as well as $4 billion in tax revenue.
"We think that an office can help give both recognition, structure and protection, because this wouldn't work without a conservation component, to help support this industry,” said Meghan Wolf, environmental activism manager for Patagonia.
Wolf noted that Nevada's opportunities for hiking, biking, camping, fishing, hunting and skiing offer the state’s residents a high quality of life, and those resources need protection.
A bill to create an Office of Outdoor Recreation is currently in the works, and discussions are ongoing between the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Lieutenant Governor's office on how to balance conservation with economic development.