(WIBW) - Gov. Sam Brownback announced a new group aimed at attracting people to the state's great outdoors.
The Governor named his Ecotourism Steering Committee during a Wednesday appearance in Wichita. The 16-member group will work with Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Secretary Robin Jennison to recommend objectives, marketing strategies and policies to boost ecotourism in Kansas.
“One of my priorities is to boost ecotourism to get Kansans outdoors and to attract visitors from around the U.S. and the world,” Brownback said. “There are many outstanding natural features in Kansas that are showcases for our state. This steering committee will help provide direction and guidance on ecotourism issues as well as recommend objectives, marketing strategies, and policies to grow this important industry in Kansas.”
Tourism is the third-largest industry in Kansas, bringing in $5.4 billion annually. Last year, the state says nearly 800,000 people participated in wildlife-watching activities in Kansas.
Ecotourism encompasses activities such as hiking, biking, camping, wildflower walks, wildlife watching, river floating or visiting some of the state's unique landscapes.
The group's first meeting is Thursday in Topeka.
Governor’s Ecotourism Steering Committee Members
Mike Beam, Topeka
Kansas Livestock Association
Joe Bisogno, Olathe
President and CEO, Techcom Worldwide, LLC
Dr. Ted Cable, Manhattan
Department of Horticulture, Forestry and Recreation Resources, Kansas State University
Cris Collier, Great Bend
President and CEO, Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau
Clare Gustin, Hays
Vice President Member Services and External Affairs, Sunflower Electric
Dr. Edward H. Hammond, Hays
Fort Hays State University President
Brian Leader, Omaha, NE
Landscape Architect, National Park Service
Brad Loveless, Topeka
Rob Manes, Wamego
State Director, The Nature Conservancy in Kansas
Stephanie Manes, Wamego
Ranchland Trust of Kansas
Dr. Roger Marshall, M.D., Great Bend
Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commissioner
Alan Pollom, Topeka
Vice President and Senior Conservation Specialist, The Nature Conservancy in Kansas
Mike Reynolds, Omaha, NE
Midwest Regional Director, National Park Service
Steve Sorensen, Valley Center
Conservation Vice President, Kansas Wildlife Federation
Steve Swaffer, Rossville
Kansas Farm Bureau
Chris Wilson, Manhattan
Farmer and Rancher