Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Gov. Gary Herbert discusses the Healthy Utah Plan at the State Capitol Building in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. Gov. Gary Herbert proposed a new $14.3 billion state budget Thursday that provides $500 million for public and higher education, including the largest increase in funds going to local school districts in a quarter-century.

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert told a group of outdoor recreation representatives that the state is committed to protecting Utah's pristine public lands.

Herbert said Tuesday at the state's second annual Outdoor Recreation Summit in Salt Lake City that embracing the growing outdoor industry is a key part of his plan to grow the state's economy. The Republican governor said he is committed to striking a balance between preserving open spaces and allowing some development on those lands.

REI president Jerry Stritzke told more than 500 attendees that Utah should be commended for creating an office of outdoor recreation and recognizing the immense potential of the outdoor industry.

Herbert said after his speech that the state's push to take control of federal lands is not a plan sell the lands to the highest bidder.