Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has appointed her husband, Bryan Sanders, as the head of a new council to promote outdoor recreation and tourism in Arkansas.
Bryan Sanders will chair the Natural State Initiative Advisory Council, which will coordinate with the Arkansas Department of Commerce to promote the state's growing outdoor recreation industry and the economic impact of outdoor infrastructure investment.
Sanders, a Republican political strategist, will not be paid for his work on the council. Other members of the council have yet to be appointed.
The council's duties include recruiting new outdoor recreation businesses, expanding existing outdoor recreation businesses, and fostering entrepreneurial growth through economic development incentives. It will also work with the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism to establish a plan to maintain Arkansas’ trail systems and develop a data-driven marketing strategy to promote tourism and outdoor recreation.
An executive order establishing the council says that Arkansas' outdoor economy grew by almost 23% in 2022, and that the state "must seize this momentum and further establish the Natural State as a leader in the outdoor economy and a destination for outdoor enthusiasts from around the world."
The council will present the governor an annual written report summarizing its progress.