Now the White House knows too and they want to learn from Bend.
During a brief meeting Wednesday morning, Nancy Sutley, Obama's principal environmental policy adviser, asked Sunnyside Sports co-owner Don Leet what he thought about the impact of recreation on the local economy (specifically at the Phil's Trail system).
"I just told her how wonderful and important it is, said Leet, whose bike and ski shop has helped serve Bend's recreating needs since 1972.
Sutley is touring in support of the White House's recent America's Great Outdoors initiative. The initiative seeks to gleam lessons from community grassroots organizations across the country that help folks get out and enjoy the out of doors. And given our current economic situation, anything that stimulates the economy is being carefully studied, scrutinized and, if possible, replicated by those in positions of power. There's no denying the sizable boost outdoor sports and tourism have had on Bend's economic situation.
"Other communities would benefit if they could build trails too. It's been huge for economies in Bend, Oakridge and Hood River, and that's the whole thing," Leet added.
Sutley's next stop is Portland.
photo credit: USDAgov (L to R: Sutley, Obama, Environmental Protection Agency's Lisa Jackson, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack).