So you’re already comfortable calling and writing to your lawmakers, you’re a prodigy when it comes to social media activism, and you know how to craft a killer message to your lawmaker. What’s left to learn?
We’re closing out our Advocacy 101 series by trying to answer the simplest and yet one of the most difficult questions of all: once you’ve decided you care about an issue, how do you find reliable information to stay up-to-date and know how to engage?
Getting good information about the issues we care about is the first step to meaningful engagement and advocacy. When you want to first dive into advocacy on an issue you care about – whether that’s protecting public lands from state takeovers, or preserving mountain bike access on a local trail, or saving a crag where you love to climb – it can be hard to know where to start. When I started working at Outdoor Alliance, I had some background in advocacy and felt reasonably well-informed about public lands, but I still felt lost about how best to follow these issues and make a difference. It is easy to get information overload trying to follow the news on a particular issue and interpret what is happening.
Keeping track of what’s going on in the world of public lands policy is literally a full time job for a lot of people, so it's invaluable to find an organization you trust to do the tracking and analysis for you. On public lands issues, we hope that’s us and our member organizations, and that we continue to buildtrust by sharing relevant, important, and high-quality information with all of you.
If you want to strike out on your own, there is no substitute for talking directly with people involved in government and public lands policy, but some of our favorite news sources include:
- Energy & Environment Daily (a pricey but awesome subscription service);
- Websites and Twitter feeds for land management agencies (like the Forest Service and BLM) and key congressional committees (House Natural Resources, Senate Energy and Natural Resources);
- High Country News + Adventure Journal;
- Websites and social media for traditional conservation groups, as well as politicians deeply involved in public lands policy (and not just the ones you agree with!), like the chairs and ranking members of important committees.
When it comes to public lands and recreation, there are some great advocacy groups working on issues ranging from river access to improving permitting to protecting backcountry skiing, including our member groups, and they are some of the best sources of information on public lands issues:
- Backcountry skiing and snowsports: Winter Wildlands Alliance
- Bicycling (city riding and mountain bicycling): International Mountain Bicycling Association or People for Bikes
- Climbing: Access Fund and the American Alpine Club
- Paddling: American Whitewater and the American Canoe Association
- General public lands and recreation issues: Outdoor Alliance and Outdoor Industry Association.
There are also fantastic state-based organizations, like The Mountaineers in Washington, Colorado Mountain Club, Salt Lake Climbers Alliance, and the Mazamas in Oregon, who closely track state-based conservation issues.
Whatever your issue, there is likely an organization working to and they can keep you informed and share opportunities where your voice will matter to protect a place you care about.