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The City Journals

Governor Garry Herbert helps set the record straight on Wilderness Therapy

Aug 17, 2016 01:27PM ● By Kimberly Roach
Press Release submitted to City Journals 

The wilderness therapy industry in the state of Utah is often surrounded by misconceptions.   Governor Herbert is set to address the industry in the state of Utah where is will challenge these often held misconceptions and to help set the record straight; Wilderness Therapy is Safe, Effective and highly regulated.   After years of research the industry can say your child just might be safer in a Utah Wilderness program then they are in their own home.  

A recent study conducted by the University of Utah concluded the industry brought at least $423 million of GDP to the state of Utah in 2015.  The study also revealed that 6,400 jobs are created, which is surprisingly more than the famed Sundance Film Festival.  Additionally, many of these programs operate in rural communities bringing crucial professional jobs to rural Utah. 

WHO: The Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH) Council

WHAT: The Symposium consists of interactive presentations, lectures, and outdoor experiential workshops covering a wide variety of topics in wilderness therapy.

WHEN: August 25-27, 2016

WHERE: Canyons Resort, Park City, UT (see

RELAVANCE:  The OBH Council has hosted the annual Wilderness Therapy Symposium in Park City, UT since 2014.  The WT Symposium, which ran in Boulder, CO from 2002 to 2013 moved to Utah in 2014 because of the large number of therapy programs that operate in Utah, and now hosts about 450 professionals annually in Park City. 

Governor Gary Herbert will be speaking prior to the keynote at 6:00 PM August 25th.

(See for a complete list of workshops and presenters.) It brings together a diverse cross-section of clinicians, field instructors, rites of passage guides, educational consultants, professors, research specialists, students, and residential program staff to share theories, insights and best practices.

Margo Talbot, a speaker and climber who works with youth-at-risk, addictions programs, and mental health groups will provide the keynote lecture, and research scientists will discuss the latest findings related to the safety and efficacy of wilderness/adventure therapy. (Recent studies have shown wilderness therapy in an OBH Council program to be safer for adolescents than staying home. See

Jenny Wilder of all kinds of therapy noted “Beyond the money that is brought into the state of Utah through this industry, there are 6,400 jobs and 6,066 clients receiving services, which is almost a 1:1 ratio,” said Wilder, “I knew that Utah state licensing requirements for many programs have high staff to student ratios, but that number means that almost every client coming into Utah represents one new job created.” Additionally, 56.9% of the employees in this industry have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and the median pay is 22% higher than the average Utahn.