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Our favorite stories about public lands and opportunities for you to get involved in protecting your outdoor experiences.

 

Outdoor Enthusiasts Take the Hill

Tania Lown-Hecht

Representatives from SuperFeet, REI, The Mountaineers, and American Whitewater working together to talk with Washington DC lawmakers about outdoor recreation. Photo credit: Katherine Hollis.

Representatives from SuperFeet, REI, The Mountaineers, and American Whitewater working together to talk with Washington DC lawmakers about outdoor recreation.

Photo credit: Katherine Hollis.

Last week, Outdoor Alliance coordinated with The Conservation Alliance and Outdoor Industry Association to have almost 100 outdoor advocates and business executives meet in DC to advocate for public lands. Over three days, we attended trainings, met to discuss outdoor policy, and took to the Hill to discuss outdoor recreation policy and conservation with lawmakers from across the country. This was a historic gathering of leaders in the outdoor world and included the executive directors of Access Fund, American Whitewater, IMBA, Winter Wildlands Alliance, The Mountaineers, and American Alpine Club; as well as leaders from Osprey Packs, REI, Patagonia, Columbia, Brooklyn Boulders, Klean Kanteen, SuperFeet, among others.

Collectively, this crew of outdoor activists had over 125 meetings with lawmakers across the country, including Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, West Virginia, Utah, and Arkansas. We also met with staff at the Forest Service, Department of the Interior, and the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality.

What’s on the agenda when leaders in the outdoor world sit down with lawmakers in DC? Some of our biggest priorities included:

  • Protecting public lands from the public land heist, the effort to transfer all public lands to state governments.
  • Supporting the pro-recreation measures in Sen. Wyden’s Recreation-Not-Red-Tape Act.
  • Permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
  • Ensuring stronger protections for some important places to the outdoor community, including Bears Ears, Wild Olympic, and Continental Divide.
  • Supporting the REC Act, which would measure the economic contribution of outdoor recreation.

While the outdoor community is large and powerful, last week’s summit was a historic effort to coordinate these passionate forces on policy issues that matter to the entire community. Last week’s meetings were an unprecedented gathering of outdoor activists, advocates, and businesses and a show of force from the outdoor community.