GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Michigan has joined a national coalition of state governments, retailers and nonprofit groups that promotes outdoor recreation.

The Confluence of States says more people need to know about the economic, social and public health benefits of playing outside.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Michigan's participation during an "Afternoon for the Outdoors" event Wednesday in Grand Rapids.

To be eligible, states must establish an outdoor recreation council and create an office of outdoor recreation with a director and a dedicated budget.

Whitmer appointed Brad Garmon to lead Michigan's office. He previously worked with the Michigan Environmental Council and has advised the state on public lands, water and tourism issues.

Garmon said Michigan is home to several large outdoor vehicle, gear and apparel manufacturers, plus smaller companies poised for growth.

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