YUCCA VALLEY — Governors from the country’s Western states will meet Dec. 7 in the Yucca Valley Community Center.
Creating jobs and economic development in small, rural communities will be one of the main topics of discussion.
They also will hear from experts and young people about getting more families and kids connected to the outdoors.
Two open sessions will be held between 10:30 a.m. and noon, followed by lunch at the community center.
Residents may attend the sessions and lunch. There is a $30 registration fee, and seating is limited. Pre-register online at www.westgov.org by Wednesday.
“Places like Yucca Valley that serve as gateways to our state and national parks are great economic drivers,” Chris Gregoire, governor of Washington and chairman of the Western Governors Association, said. “We’re grateful to Yucca Valley for hosting us, and we hope to learn from the community about their successes and share that knowledge with all the Western states.”
The first open session is “Job Creation and Economic Development in Small Rural Communities.” Governors and local government and business leaders will discuss:
• The economic importance of tourism and recreation in the West’s economy;
• Strategies small communities are using to create jobs, strengthen the economy and provide government services in difficult economic times;
• Successful programs in various states.
Panelists will include Frank Hugelmeyer, executive director of the Outdoor Industry Association; Neil Derry, San Bernardino County Supervisor; and Paul Smith, owner of the 29 Palms Inn and president of the Twentynine Palms Innkeepers’ Association.
The second session is “Passing Down a Western Outdoor Ethic to Today’s Youth.” Experts from California State Parks and the National Park Service will discuss engaging youth in outdoor activities. Sierra Zacks, a student at Yucca Valley High School, and Lucas Basulto, a student with Barstow Community College, will speak with the governors about what states can do to encourage kids to explore the west’s scenic beauty.
Governors will highlight successful programs in their states.
Panelists will include Ron Krueper, a district superintendent with California State Parks, and Mike Cipra, an environmental specialist with the National Park Service.
For information, visit the WGA website at www.westgov.org.