Raimondo was joined by First Gentleman Andy Moffit, as they both lauded Rhode Island's natural resources and the importance of engaging in outdoor activities as a way to instill healthy habits in children.
"All Rhode Islanders should have the chance to enjoy the countless outdoor recreational opportunities in our beautiful state, and take advantage of these resources as they fulfill New Year's resolutions and lead healthier lifestyles," Raimondo said. "Rhode Island's natural assets are unmatched, with amazing beaches, parks, campgrounds, bike paths, the bay and waterways. The State can do more to encourage use of these resources and promote this critical sector of Rhode Island's economy."
The Executive Order connects state agencies with stakeholders, directing them to provide a statewide strategy to promote and improve opportunities for outdoor recreation and tourism in Rhode Island.
The Executive Order directs the Rhode Island Outdoor Recreation Council to:
• Advise the Governor on ways to manage recreational and environmental assets;
• Evaluate and propose specific recommendations concerning the implementation of a statewide strategy to promote and improve opportunities for outdoor recreation and tourism in Rhode Island;
• Produce an interim report no later than July 1, 2016, and a final action plan and recommendation no later than November 30, 2016.
"Every day I see the dedication of Rhode Island residents to preserving the state's diverse natural heritage," said Moffit, who will serve as Chair of the Council. "We can capitalize upon all the state has to offer and showcase Rhode Island as a destination for our families and visitors alike."
This Council brings together a group of talented leaders representing state and municipal government, private business, and educational institutions, among other groups. Director Janet Coit of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and Director Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, of the Rhode Island Department of Health have been named co-vice chairs of the Council.
"Our parks, beaches, and other recreational areas make Rhode Island so special, and DEM is proud to be the chief steward of these resources for our state," said Coit. "Every year, these treasured places welcome millions of people - from avid hikers and fishermen to families gathering for a picnic or a relaxing day at the beach. They are part of our social fabric and identity, as well as important tourist attractions. I am thrilled the Governor is creating an Outdoor Recreation Council to evaluate, promote and expand outdoor recreation in Rhode Island; through it, we will bring together a diverse set of interests and perspectives that will greatly contribute toward this important goal. I am brimming with optimism about the future!"
"Increasing the use of parks and other recreation areas by all Rhode Islanders, including people in communities who have traditionally had less access to these resources, is vital to addressing obesity, physical inactivity, and mental health in our state," said Alexander-Scott. "The Outdoor Recreation Council will put us on a path toward a healthier Rhode Island full of people who are ready to get active and stay active for life."
The Outdoor Recreation Council Executive Order builds on Environmental Management, Health, Commerce and tourism plans, setting bold and ambitious strategies for developing use and promotion of Rhode Island's outdoor recreation assets.
Please see below for links to the Executive Order and a list of members of the Council.