Outdoor recreation the talk of the town as Great Outdoors Brewery Tour comes to Billings

Posted at 3:08 PM, Aug 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-09 17:08:19-04

BILLINGS – Montana has a $7 billion outdoor recreation industry, and interested Billings residents heard Wednesday from the woman in charge of growing it.

Rachel Vanderbilt, the director of Montana’s Office of Outdoor Recreation, is currently on a Great Outdoors Brewery Tour statewide. Her aim is to promote her office and talk with Montana businesses and residents about how they are working to preserve and expand the outdoor economy.

VanDeVoort said a key function of office is to be a central hub for a burgeoning industry and formalize Montana’s commitment to sustainable growth in outdoor recreation.

She wants people and businesses to know that the Office of Outdoor Recreation is accessible and will strive to work with any and all to promote outdoor recreation in the state.

VanDeVoort said that success in her eyes is “looking after the Montana lifestyle.”

The Office of Outdoor Recreation operates under the Montana Governor’s Office of Economic Development and was created in 2017 by Gov. Steve Bullock. The office works with state and federal agencies to further the prospects of Montana’s outdoor resources.

The tour kicked off at Draught Works Brewery in Missoula on Aug. 1 and made its way to Thirsty Street Brewing Co. in Billings Wednesday.

It’s a natural partnership for the brewers association because its members “live and breathe the outdoor way of life” as well as heavily associate their product with Montana’s outdoor environment, Montana Brewers Association Executive Director Matt Leow said in a press release.

Another speaker, Billings financial adviser Todd Buchanan, highlighted the huge role that the outdoor recreation industry has on the local economy.

The Office of Outdoor Recreation is in the process of creating the Go Montana advisory board to help guide its progress. The board will be composed of citizens, industry professionals and conservation experts. Applications for board positions are being accepted until August 17.

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Reporting by Connor Pregizer for MTN News