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Press Releases

We work on policy, access, and conservation issues related to outdoor recreation. If you’re interested in connecting with Outdoor Alliance staff or policy expert, please contact:

Tania Lown-Hecht 202-780-9650 EMAIL

New Studies Reveal Vast Economic, Recreational Values of Two North Carolina National Forests

Tania Lown-Hecht

Media contacts: 
Kevin Colburn, American Whitewater National Stewardship Director, 
kevin@americanwhitewater.org // 828.712.4825
Zachary Lesch-Huie, Access Fund Southeast Regional Director / Affiliate Director, zachary@accessfund.org // 828.545.7362
Tom Sauret, Southeast Region Director/International Mountain Bicycling Association, tom.sauret@imba.com // 770-654-3291

As the Forest Service drafts new plans that will guide management of the million-plus acre Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in western North Carolina, a series of studies demonstrates a generational chance to protect their extensive economic and recreational values
 

October4, 2017 (Asheville, N.C.) – Human-powered outdoor recreation is a major economic engine for Western North Carolina. That's the conclusion of a new series of studies commissioned by the Outdoor Alliance and conducted by researchers from Eastern Kentucky University (EKU). The report, which examines the economic impact of paddling, climbing, and mountain biking in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests, shows that outdoor recreation generates $115 million annually for surrounding communities in Western North Carolina, while supporting more than 1,000 full-time jobs.

"More people visit the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests each year than Yellowstone — people who bike, paddle, raft, hike, climb, and otherwise enjoy these treasured public lands," said Adam Cramer, Executive Director of Outdoor Alliance. “These national forests provide adventures that feed the souls of millions of visitors. Collectively these visitors spend a ton of money and make these cherished national forests economic powerhouses that generate jobs and income throughout the region."

The studies highlight just how vital outdoor recreation is to this region in the heart of the Southern Appalachians, and to the 1 million acres spanned by the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests (NPNF), and come as the Forest Service update a plan that will guide management of these forests for the next 15 to 20 years. The Outdoor Alliance-commissioned studies illustrate why human-powered recreation deserves to be a top priority for the U.S. Forest Service as it completes this new plan in the coming months.

The report’s authors found that paddlers, climbers, and mountain bikers who visit the Nantahala-Pisgah's rivers, crags, and trails generate more than $83 million in economic impact annually. But even this is only part of the story. The researchers also identified nearly $32 million in annual spending by local residents on human-powered outdoor recreation in the two national forests. This combined economic activity helps support more than 1,000 local jobs — yielding almost $14 million in annual income — above and beyond visitor and resident spending. It also makes Western North Carolina a magnet for outdoor gear manufacturing companies, 27 of whom call the region home.

"When our company chose to set up shop in Western North Carolina, the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests had everything to do with that decision," said Goose Kearse, Owner of Misty Mountain Threadworks. "The forests' trails, climbing areas, and rivers draw visitors to this beautiful corner of North Carolina year-round, and they also draw talented, mission-driven people to live here — people we are proud to employ and who contribute daily to the success of our business."

But it's not just those employed in the outdoor industry who choose to live in Western North Carolina for its access to such a wide array of outdoor activities. According to the studies' findings, the region's proximity to unparalleled outdoor recreation attracts a diverse cross section of residents working in fields from healthcare to hi-tech. In fact, fully 95 percent of survey respondents cite access to outdoor recreation as a key reason for living here.

"Not every part of the country is fortunate enough to boast amazing climbing, world-class whitewater, and top-notch trails, but here in Western North Carolina, we are that lucky," said Kevin Colburn, the National Stewardship Director of American Whitewater. "What these new studies tell us is that our region's economic health depends on safeguarding these amazing public resources for the long-term, while ensuring their sustainable enjoyment by residents and visitors alike. As federal officials work to complete their management plan for the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests, we need to make sure outdoor recreation remains a key priority."

The studies, led by Dr. James Maples and Dr. Michael Bradley of EKU, focus on outdoor recreation as it applies to the NPNF in three broad categories – rock climbing, paddling and mountain biking. 

The researchers found that of three climbing regions surveyed, rock climbers spend an estimated $13.9 million per year in and around NPNF, and that rock climber tourism supports the presence of 170 full-time jobs and $4 million in job income. They also determined that Western North Carolina residents spend an additional $12.9 million per year as a result of climbing in the NPNF.

With regard to mountain biking, the studies found that mountain bikers visit the NPNF an estimated 435,000 times per year, spending around $30.2 million per year in and around the NPNF. Mountain biker tourism supports some 366 full-time jobs and $9 million in job income, while Western North Carolina residents spend an additional $18 million as a result of mountain biking in the NPNF.

"The Pisgah-Nantahala has welcomed mountain bikers for over 25 years and in that time, the U.S. Forest Service has developed a close partnership with IMBA and SORBA volunteers to create one of the most attractive and extensive mountain biking destinations in the country. The report shows how the region is benefiting from these efforts,” said Tom Sauret, Executive Director of Southern Off-Road Bicycling Association and Southeast Regional Director of International Mountain Bicycling Association.

And when it comes to watersports, the studies concluded that visiting non-commercial paddlers spend an estimated $3.2 million across seven rivers, while commercial paddlers account for an estimated $36 million annually across three rivers. They found that non-commercial paddling tourism supports 35 full-time jobs and $827,000 in job income whereas commercial paddling supports over 400 full-time jobs and $10 million in job income.

“These studies show that the outdoor recreation opportunities provided by the Nantahala-Pisgah are a truly precious resource — one that needs and deserves protection and sustainable stewardship,” said Zachary Lesch-Huie, Southeast Regional Director of Access Fund. “The Forest Service’s upcoming plan should safeguard and promote the value of outdoor recreation by ensuring these public land gems will continue to offer world-class climbing, paddling, hiking, and biking for generations to come.” 

Download the full reports. 

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Outdoor Alliance is a nonprofit coalition of organizations that include American Whitewater, American Canoe Association, Access Fund, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Winter Wildlands Alliance, The Mountaineers, American Alpine Club, and the Mazamas. Outdoor Alliance unites backcountry skiers, hikers, paddlers, mountain bikers, boaters, and climbers who share a commitment to protecting public lands. For more information, visit outdooralliance.org.
 

Outdoor Recreation Groups, Outdoor Businesses Applaud Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Outdoor Recreation on America’s Public Lands

Tania Lown-Hecht

Outdoor Alliance and Outdoor Industry Association Commend Congress on the Introduction of the Recreation-Not-Red-Tape Act

 

July 26, 2017 (Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced a bipartisan bill that will update processes and policies on our national public lands to improve the outdoor recreation experience. The Recreation-Not-Red-Tape Act (RNR) aims to reduce barriers to outdoor recreation access, and improve public land management for Americans who enjoy skiing, climbing, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, and paddling on public lands and waters.

Like last year’s REC Act, the RNR Act is a commonsense bipartisan plan for improving outdoor recreation on our public lands and growing the outdoor recreation economy. Outdoor Alliance and Outdoor Industry Association are particularly excited by the inclusion of a new organic designation, National Recreation Areas, that will offer tailored management for landscapes with highly valuable outdoor recreation resources.

 “Millions of Americans enjoy outdoor recreation on our national public lands,” said Adam Cramer, Executive Director of the Outdoor Alliance. “We are pleased to see the bipartisan effort of Senator Wyden and Chairman Bishop to streamline and improve outdoor recreation access for all Americans. The Recreation-Not-Red-Tape Act provides commonsense tools for improving access to outdoor recreation. It will foster better tailored land management and help protect more public land for its recreation value as well protecting habitats, clean air and water.”

As outdoor recreation grows in popularity and in economic impact, land management agencies need updated tools to protect and improve access to America’s public lands and waters. The RNR Act offers sensible, non-controversial proposals for identifying, protecting, and appropriately managing important places for outdoor recreation.

“As evidenced by the $887 billion in consumer spending and the 7.6 million jobs supported by the outdoor industry, recreation on public lands is as popular in the 21st century as any other time in our nation’s history, and it’s one of our biggest economic drivers,” said Amy Roberts, Outdoor Industry Association’s Executive Director. “Unfortunately, many of the regulations and agency policies that govern our public land’s use are outdated. We support the bipartisan effort of Senator Wyden and Chairman Bishop to update antiquated processes and reduce barriers to recreation for today’s outdoor users. We believe the pragmatic approach of the Recreation Not Red Tape bill will lead to healthier communities and healthier economies across the country.”

 The outdoor recreation community weighed in with its support for the RNR Act. Lee Davis, Executive Director of the Mazamas, an Oregon-based mountaineering education nonprofit, said, “The Mazamas has dealt with plenty of red tape in pursuing our passion for adventure in the outdoors.  Sen. Wyden’s Recreation Not Red-Tape act targets the problems that many of our federal agencies face when trying to balance access and conservation.  RNR addresses a range of issues from outfitter-guide permitting and trail stewardship to protecting recreation areas throughout the country.  The Mazamas fully supports RNR and its focus to remove barriers to getting more people outdoors, enjoying their public lands and boosting local economies.”

Two organizations representing climbers also shared their support for. "For climbers, public lands are our nation’s greatest asset and where we practice our craft,” said Maria Millard, Policy Director for the American Alpine Club. Ensuring access to these lands for human-powered recreation attracts tourism dollars, strengthens communities and enhances quality of life. We support the Recreation-Not-Red Tape Act because by prioritizing recreation values and addressing land management conflicts, more people will be able to enjoy getting out onto our public lands."

Erik Murdock, Policy Director for the Access Fund, a national advocacy organization working to keep climbing areas open and conserved, said, “The Recreation-Not-Red-Tape Act improves access to our public lands and strengthens partnerships that help get Americans outside. This is an important step toward making sure that outdoor recreation is always considered a primary use of our public lands."

Mountain bikers also spoke out in support of the bill: "At a time when mountain biking continues to grow in popularity, it's great to see forward-thinking policy like the Recreation-Not-Red-Tape Act. This bipartisan bill recognizes the value of more flexible land protection designations like National Recreation Areas, the benefits of including "recreation" in the missions of more land management agencies, and how expanding seasonal recreation can strengthen local economies. Ultimately, the Recreation-Not-Red-Tape Act will help improve public access to trails for mountain bikers and other recreationalists," said Aaron Clark of the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

Thomas O’Keefe, Pacific Northwest Stewardship Director of American Whitewater, said, "We are excited with the opportunities this legislation creates to better recognize federal employees who embrace sustainable outdoor recreation on our public lands and work to improve the quality of the user experience. This will promote more partnerships and recognize those federal land managers who encourage efforts to improve the quality of facilities and visitor satisfaction."

"For paddlers, countless rivers flow through public lands and are treasured assets that allow paddlers to explore the magic of America's most revered natural landscapes. It is vital that we work collectively to ensure that the paddling community has access to our public lands. Paddling recreation strengthens local communities, economies, and embraces quality of life. The American Canoe Association supports the Recreation-Not-Red Tape Act because prioritizing recreation values and addressing land management conflicts, allows paddlers access to the rivers, lakes, and seas that exist within our public lands,” said Brett Mayer, Policy Chief at the American Canoe Association.

Public lands offer many exceptional opportunities for outdoor recreation, but too often unique or exceptional settings for outdoor recreation are not formally recognized in land use planning. This legislation, including its system of National Recreation Areas, will identify and protect landscapes where sustainable outdoor recreation should be a priority use.

 

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Outdoor Alliance

Outdoor Alliance is a nonprofit coalition of organizations that include American Whitewater, American Canoe Association, Access Fund, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Winter Wildlands Alliance, the Mountaineers, and American Alpine Club. Outdoor Alliance has regional networks across the west, including Colorado, that brings together local recreation voices to advocate for public lands. Outdoor Alliance unites backcountry skiers, hikers, paddlers, mountain bikers, boaters, and climbers who share a commitment to protecting public lands. For more information, visit outdooralliance.org.

 

About Outdoor Industry Association
Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA unites and serves over 1,200 manufacturers, supplier, sales representative and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business innovation and outdoor participation. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org.

 

 

Outdoor Retailer, Outdoor Industry Association, The Conservation Alliance and Outdoor Alliance Host March to Celebrate Public Lands

Tania Lown-Hecht

Outdoor Retailer, Outdoor Industry Association, The Conservation Alliance and Outdoor Alliance Host March to Celebrate Public Lands at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market
Thursday, July 27, from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Exhibitors, Retailers and Attendees invited to join
This Land is Our Land March to Utah State Capitol

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. — April 19, 2017 — Outdoor Retailer, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), The Conservation Alliance and Outdoor Alliance today announced that cooperatively they will host a march to the Utah State Capitol to celebrate public lands on Day Two, Thursday, July 27, at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. The This Land is Our Land march will provide show attendees with a platform to express their support for the outdoor industry’s backbone and foundation: federal public lands.

“The This Land is Our Land march at summer Outdoor Retailer spotlights that public lands across America are truly the foundation of the outdoor industry, providing incredible landscapes and waterways for people to come together and experience the awe of the outdoors,” said Amy Roberts, OIA executive director.  “We aim to communicate that America’s national treasures require investment and effective management today and for generations to come—and they must remain accessible for all Americans.”

The march will convene in the South Plaza of the Salt Palace Convention Center at 4:30 p.m. and will proceed along a designated route to the Utah State Capitol. Confirmed route information will be available soon. The walk to the Capitol is expected to take approximately 30-45 minutes. At the Capitol, industry leaders and experts will hold a 45-minute rally to raise issues that spark further public lands discussion and action. Speakers include Utah tribal leaders, outdoor industry leaders, athletes and policy makers. All show attendees as well as interested citizens are welcome to attend. All march participants are asked to abide by the established Code of Conduct[LK1] . 

Outdoor Retailer is the only gathering where the entire outdoor industry comes together to conduct commerce, share best practices and exchange ideas. Outdoor Retailer 2017 will continue to serve the industry’s business needs while also serving as an important observance of public lands and our industry’s values. The show will remain open for normal business for those attendees wishing to conduct meetings. The show floor will close at its standard time of 6:00 p.m.

“The outdoor community has been in the national spotlight because of its fervent passion for protecting the public lands we all enjoy,” said Marisa Nicholson, show director for Outdoor Retailer. “This is not a one-and-done issue. While Bears Ears National Monument status has been a catalyst for our community, it’s just the most currently visible example of what will be a long, hard series of national debates. This march will harness that passion by providing a responsible yet energized path to celebrate what is so important to all of us, and about which we need to be heard.”

“Protecting public lands is central to The Conservation Alliance’s mission, and the Outdoor Retailer trade shows provide a great venue to connect with the tribe and share our passion for this mission. At this pivotal moment, it is important that we join forces with Outdoor Retailer, the Outdoor Industry Association and Outdoor Alliance to rally the industry around a long-term agenda to protect and preserve the mountains, deserts, forests and waters that grace our nation’s public lands,” commented John Sterling, executive director of The Conservation Alliance.

In addition to the march, Outdoor Retailer, OIA, The Conservation Alliance and Outdoor Alliance are exploring additional ways to highlight public lands during the show. Updates will be shared on unity.outdoorretailer.com.

“Outdoor Alliance works on behalf of millions of paddlers, mountain bikers, hikers, climbers, and backcountry skiers who get outside on public lands each year. Public lands are the foundation of this large and passionate community, and we’re excited to lend our voice to this effort to unify the industry around this important issue,” said Adam Cramer, executive director of Outdoor Alliance. “We have been working for two years to unify outdoor business and advocacy groups to protect public lands. Summer Market is the perfect opportunity to rally together as a community to protect the landscapes that are home to our adventures.”

To join the This Land is Our Land march and add your voice to the conversation, click here to RSVP to the Facebook invite.

 

 

 

 

Colorado’s Public Lands Day Bill Recognizes the Value of the Outdoors

Tania Lown-Hecht

Outdoor Alliance and Outdoor Industry Association commend Colorado’s landmark Public Lands Day Bill

 

(Boulder, CO) May 17, 2016 – Today, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper will sign into law Colorado’s Public Lands Day bill, which will establish the third Saturday in May as a holiday to celebrate the state’s public land. The bill’s summary states that it intends to recognize “the significant contributions that national, state, and local public lands within Colorado make to wildlife, recreation, the economy, and to Coloradans’ quality of life.”

The Public Lands Day bill is the first of its kind, and it repudiates recent efforts in Colorado and across the West to seize, privatize, or sell off public lands.

“Public lands are a priceless component of our Colorado identity, and it’s heartening to see our elected representatives recognizing how important public lands are to Colorado’s way of life,” said Nathan Fey, director of Colorado’s River Stewardship Program and member of Outdoor Alliance Colorado, a regional coalition of outdoor recreation advocacy groups in the state.

In Colorado, outdoor recreation generates $13.2 billion dollars in consumer spending, supporting 125,000 jobs. "A poll we released last fall showed that more than 80 percent of Coloradans believe public lands have a positive impact on our quality of life, our economy, and opportunities for hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation in our state,” said Cailin O’Brien-Feeney, local recreation advocacy manager for Outdoor Industry Association. “It's great to see our elected officials honor those widely held sentiments by creating a day to celebrate our rich public lands heritage.”

Advocates for public lands and outdoor recreation in the state commended the bill. Jason Bertolacci, Colorado and Wyoming region director for International Mountain Bicycling Association, said: “Outdoor Alliance Colorado is grateful for the bill’s sponsors and the hard work of many supporters to ensure the passage of this legislation.”

“Colorado has some of the most inspiring public lands in the U.S., and the state has been a leader in protecting and celebrating outdoor experiences. The Public Lands Day bill is a clear sign that Colorado values and wants to safeguard its incredible natural resources,” said Maria Millard, policy director for the American Alpine Club, which is a member of Outdoor Alliance Colorado.

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Outdoor Alliance

Outdoor Alliance is a nonprofit coalition of organizations that include American Whitewater, American Canoe Association, Access Fund, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Winter Wildlands Alliance, the Mountaineers, and American Alpine Club. Outdoor Alliance has regional networks across the west, including Colorado, that brings together local recreation voices to advocate for public lands. Outdoor Alliance unites backcountry skiers, hikers, paddlers, mountain bikers, boaters, and climbers who share a commitment to protecting public lands. For more information, visit outdooralliance.org.

Outdoor Industry Association

Based in Boulder, CO, with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA unites and serves over 1200 manufacturer, supplier, sales representative and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business, market & consumer insights and industry trends. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.

About Outdoor Alliance Colorado

Outdoor Alliance Colorado (OAC) is a statewide partnership that serves as a platform for members to coordinate their efforts to protect public lands, waters and snowscapes, and to ensure these places can be experienced in a meaningful and sustainable manner. Outdoor Alliance Colorado is a regional network of Outdoor Alliance, a national coalition of human-powered outdoor recreation advocacy groups. Members of Outdoor Alliance Colorado include Access Fund, American Alpine Club, American Whitewater, Colorado Mountain Club, and the Colorado Mountain Bike Association (COMBA). Learn more at outdooralliance.org/colorado

Outdoor Industry and Recreation Groups Converge on Washington, D.C.

Tania Lown-Hecht

Outdoor Industry and Recreation Groups Converge on Washington, D.C.

Outdoor Industry Association, The Conservation Alliance, and Outdoor Alliance joining voices to ensure that policymakers hear outdoor recreation loud and clear

(Boulder, CO, Bend, OR and Washington D.C.) April 8, 2016 – Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA), The Conservation Alliance, and Outdoor Alliance will hold their annual advocacy events the week of April 25 in Washington D.C. Together, these three organizations demonstrate the social and economic value of the outdoor industry and outdoor recreation. In the past year, the outdoor recreation community provided critical support to many successful efforts to protect our public lands and waters for recreation. This week, the three organizations will meet with decision makers in Congress and the administration to discuss policies that will grow and strengthen outdoor places and the outdoor recreation economy.

This year has been historic for outdoor recreation, with the release of two pieces of recreation-focused legislation:

Sen. Shaheen (D-NH) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R- CO)’s REC Act, which will measure the contributions of the outdoor economy.

Sen. Wyden (D-OR) and Congressman Blumenaur’s (D- OR)’s Recreation Not Red Tape Act, which seeks to improve access and permitting, as well as create an organic designation focused on the recreation value of public lands.

The event brings together outdoor industry leaders; executives from national membership groups representing climbers, paddlers, backcountry skiers, and mountain bikers; and emerging leaders in Washington, D.C. to represent their businesses and to lobby members of Congress and the administration to support industry recreation, trade, and business priorities.

OIA Capitol Summit

Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) will hold the 24th annual Capitol Summit on April 26-27. The outdoor industry played a key role in advancing all initiatives addressed during the 2015 Capitol Summit, such as increased funding for land management agencies and reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Maintaining this momentum on OIA’s trade and recreation agendas is crucial during this election year.

The two-day event provides business executives with insight into the current political landscape, an overview of OIA’s expertise on trade and recreational issues, and a D.C. insiders’ policy briefing and education session. OIA’s government affairs team arranges a full roster of key meetings with members of Congress and administration officials to help participants effectively deliver the message that the outdoor recreation economy is extremely valuable to America and that the outdoor industry depends on the support of its elected officials.

The week of events kicks off with a Climate Change Happy Hour featuring Business

for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) at the Filson retail store in Washington D.C. on Monday (April 25) night and culminates with a Friend of the Industry Reception in the Kennedy Room in the Russel House Building on Wednesday night (April 27).

The Conservation Alliance Conservation Policy and Advocacy Training

The sixth annual Conservation Alliance Conservation Policy and Advocacy Training will be held on April 25-27 in Washington, D.C. The Conservation Alliance staff, board of directors, and representatives from outdoor industry member companies will gather for a two-day meeting that combines one full day of training in conservation policy and one full day of meetings with Congressional and Obama Administration representatives. Many of the projects funded by The Conservation Alliance depend on action by Congress or the Obama Administration. The Conservation Alliance members will use their collective business voice to influence the decisions that impact our public lands and waters.

Outdoor Alliance DC Fly In

Outdoor Alliance will be bringing executives from its seven national membership organizations to Washington, D.C. to educate policymakers about priority issues to the community of nearly 200,000 human-powered outdoor recreation users that the groups represent. The priority issues are defending against the movement to transfer and sell off national public lands and supporting Sen. Wyden’s (D-OR) Recreation Not Red Tape Act, as well as reforming wildfire funding, permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and endorsing the REC Act, which would measure the contributions of the outdoor economy.

 

Outdoor Industry Association

Based in Boulder, CO, with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA supports the growth and success of more than 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers of outdoor recreation apparel, footwear, equipment and services. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.

Outdoor Alliance

Outdoor Alliance is a nonprofit coalition of organizations that include American Whitewater, American Canoe Association, Access Fund, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Winter Wildlands Alliance, the Mountaineers, and American Alpine Club.  We are backcountry skiers, hikers, paddlers, mountain bikers, boaters, and climbers who share a commitment to protecting public lands. In uniting our voices, we are building and nurturing a conservation constituency for the 21st century. For more information, visit outdooralliance.org.

The Conservation Alliance

The Conservation Alliance is an organization of outdoor businesses whose collective contributions support grassroots environmental organizations and their efforts to protect wild places where outdoor enthusiasts recreate. Alliance funds have played a key role in protecting rivers, trails, wildlands and climbing areas.

Membership in the Alliance is open to companies representing all aspects of the outdoor industry, including manufacturers, retailers, publishers, mills and sales representatives. The result is a diverse group of businesses whose livelihood depends on protecting our natural environment.

Since its inception in 1989, the Alliance has contributed more than $16 million to grassroots conservation groups. Alliance funding has helped save more than 45 million acres of wildlands; protect 2,972 miles of rivers; stop or remove 28 dams; designate five marine reserves; and purchase 11 climbing areas.

Washington Recreation Groups Unite to Protect Mountains to Sound Greenway

Tania Lown-Hecht

More than 3,000 citizens sign petition to designate the Greenway as a National Heritage Area

Seattle, WA--A coalition of outdoor recreation groups has collected more than 3,000 signatures calling on Congress to designate the Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area.

The signatures were collected between April 15-May 15 and support formally recognizing the 1.5 million-acre outdoor paradise connecting Seattle to Ellensburg as a National Heritage Area.

“Our members have spoken strongly in favour of designating the Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area,” said Martinique Grigg, executive director of The Mountaineers, a Seattle-based outdoor education nonprofit. “This move would protect and enhance the incredible climbing, mountaineering and hiking in Seattle’s backyard.”

The Mountains to Sound Greenwayincludes 1,600 miles of trails, the stunning Cascade Crest, excellent whitewater runs, backcountry skiing and snowshoeing, rock climbing and mountain biking. Itconnects rugged alpine peaks, wilderness lakes, and expansive forests to the city and to rural communities through a network of roads, rails, and trails that would be enhanced by a National Heritage Area designation.

The campaign was launched in coordination with Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, a Seattle-based nonprofit that has spent two decades taking care of the Greenway, ensuring a long-term balance between people and nature. The Greenway National Heritage Area effort has strong, bipartisan support, with champions in Representative Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), as well as hundreds of local business and civic leaders.

“The Greenway provides a playground just minutes from the 15th largest metropolitan area in the nation,” said Amy Brockhaus, Greenway Trust Coalition Director. “The Greenway ensures quality of life that attracts tourism and top employers, keeping the region’s economy strong.”

The National Heritage Area designation will mark the Greenway's place on the map, improve collaboration between businesses and conservation groups, and identify the Greenway as a special place in the state and in the nation.

The coalition of groups supporting the petition include The Mountaineers, Washington Trails Alliance, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, Access Fund, and American Whitewater, and was coordinated by Outdoor Alliance, a nonprofit coalition that unites outdoor recreation groups on public land policy.

To learn more about the Greenway, or to lend your help to the campaign, visit http://www.outdooralliance.org/mountains-to-sound.

About Outdoor Alliance

Outdoor Alliance is a nonprofit coalition of organizations that include American Whitewater, American Canoe Association, Access Fund, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Winter Wildlands Alliance, and the Mountaineers.  We are backcountry skiers, hikers, paddlers, mountain bikers, boaters, and climbers who share a commitment to protecting public lands. In uniting our voices, we are building and nurturing a conservation constituency for the 21st century.

About the Greenway Trust

The Mountains to Sound Greenway is the 1.5 million-acre landscape connecting Puget Sound and central Washington. The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust leads and inspires action to conserve and enhance the Greenway, ensuring a long-term balance between people and nature. Founded in 1991, the Greenway Trust works to promote public land acquisitions, connect a continuous regional trail system, preserve rural lifestyles, teach people of all ages about forests and wildlife, and mobilize thousands of volunteers to care for the landscape.

 

American Alpine Club Joins Outdoor Alliance Coalition

Tania Lown-Hecht

The American Alpine Club (AAC) has joined as an official partner of Outdoor Alliance, a coalition that unites the outdoor recreation community to protect public lands. As a member organization of the coalition, the AAC will strengthen its voice in the national conversation about human-powered recreation on public lands, helping to secure climbing access for its members.

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