Colorado Mesa University has tapped GJEP board member Sarah Shrader, co-founder of Bonsai Design, for a new multi-disciplinary degree in outdoor recreation industry studies. Here’s more from the Colorado Sun:

“The Grand Valley economy is growing despite a slowdown in the region’s dominant oil and gas industry. Sales tax collections in Mesa County topped $38.5 million in 2019, up from $36.1 million in 2018. The county’s unemployment rate is dropping and the number of jobs is increasing even as oil and gas drilling contracts and major energy employers, like Halliburton, lay off workers.

‘The economy is really turning around as we become a more diversified, sustainable, recreation-based economy,’ Shrader said. ‘As the diversification continues, we will see poverty drop, unemployment drop, graduation rates go up, suicide rates go down and community health go up. It’s been an honor to be a part of this.’

Dan Gibbs, the head of Colorado’s Department of Natural Resources, toured the Grand Valley on Wednesday, visiting with local leaders, including Shrader and CMU President Tim Foster, to learn more about the program and the explosive growth of the outdoor recreation economy in the Grand Valley.

‘I was absolutely blown away,’ said Gibbs, who studied outdoor recreation and sociology at Western Colorado University in Gunnison back when it was called Western State. ‘The fact that Sarah is going to have the leadership from the outdoor recreation world at her fingertips for the students to get inside the industry, especially the business side, is truly amazing.’

Read the full article in the Colorado Sun here.


Photo: Colorado Mesa University graduation.