Meet The Most Important Man in Washington

If you're in the outdoor industry in Washington state, you'll want to know Jon Snyder.

By Avery Stonich March 1, 2016

On January 12, Jon Snyder became Washington state’s first policy advisor for outdoor recreation and economic development. We spoke with him about what he hopes to accomplish.

OIA: What are your priorities?

John Snyder: My priorities are laid out in the enabling legislation:

1) Work on strategies to increase outdoor recreation employment in Washington State, and

2) Increase outdoor recreation participation.

The unstated third priority is if you’re successful at those two, you end up with more people in Washington State that care about the outdoors and our great open spaces and want to preserve, protect and support them.

OIA: What are your biggest challenges?

JS: One of the biggest challenges is the outdoor recreation space is so diverse. If I’m looking for the next outdoor recreation job that Washington is going to create, it can be anywhere from Outdoor Research hiring a veteran to develop product, to a fly fishing guide in one of our most rural counties. They can be totally different spaces and use totally different communication channels.

OIA: How will you address this challenge?

JS: A lot of talking. I’ve got to reach out to folks far and wide and not make assumptions that I know what their issues are. I’ve got to find the common areas that have the most likelihood of moving forward.

OIA: What are you hearing so far?

JS: Already some themes are emerging. Access and permitting is a big one, especially across all the different state and federal and even local agencies. Underserved populations is a huge one as well. It’s great if we have all this awesome land available, but if I can’t get the kid in inner city Seattle out to experience it, I’m not raising the next generation of outdoor supporters.

OIA: Where do you think you can have the most impact?

JS: The governor’s budget is one spot. Also being able to track legislation and give perspective that makes it more friendly to outdoor recreation. My job is to be looking at the issues so when the governor asks what I think about something, I can give him a well-rounded, informed answer.