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


Outdoor Allies: Brinkley Messick

Tania Lown-Hecht

Photo credit: Brinkley Messick

Photo credit: Brinkley Messick

Next in our Outdoor Allies series is Brinkley Messick, an incredible artist, defender of public lands, and outdoor advocate. We met Brink through New Belgium Brewery's Art Bike Contest, where he chose Outdoor Alliance to be the recipient of a $5,000 grant. Here, he talks about his winning bike and why he wanted to get involved in the public land heist campaign.

Tell us a little about how you got involved in the New Belgium art bike competition and what inspired the design of your bike.

Photo credit: Ben Knight

Photo credit: Ben Knight

Last winter I had a show up at a local brewery in Salida Colorado and just happened to bump into New Belgium's regional marketing and branding rep who asked if I was interested in participating.  I'm still pretty surprised that I was asked to participate in the first place, especially after hearing who some of the other artists were. Art is not my main gig, I produce enough for a couple of small local shows a year that bring in a little extra beer and bike money, so getting asked to participate in a national competition is definitely out of the norm for me.

One of the things that excited me the most about the project was trying to create something that represented my region and I began to think about the things that brought and kept me here in the first place which was guiding horse packing expeditions for youth on public lands. The design is heavily influenced by western floral patterns typically found on saddles and other leather work.  As a cyclist I also wanted to create a very functional piece of art, hence several component upgrades and custom packs, all of which ended up coming in very handy when I rode it from my home in Salida for 300+ miles to the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins.    

What do you like to do outside, and what are some of your favorite places to explore?  

Like many folks residing in the mountain West, I suffer from a little bit of outdoor recreation A.D.D., which make's it hard to just stick to one or two activities.  Snowboarding, Mtn Biking, Paddling, and Climbing are among my favorite and are the activities that inspire me to explore our public lands all over the country.  For over a decade I've lived in Southern Colorado, and I live where I live for a reason, it's my favorite place to explore, recreate and just exist in awe and wonder. With it's high peaks, remote wilderness areas, lush river corridors, and rocky lowland deserts I am still amazed daily by the diversity of the landscape and ecosystems in this part of the world.  

How did you decide to get involved in the public land heist campaign?

No decision necessary. Period.

The whole PLH campaign is simply unacceptable.  It's not just about defending a patch of forest, a mountain top, or a stretch of river, it's about preservingone of our greatest accomplishments as a nation that helped make us who we are and guards the memory of who we were. The foresight and vision of our forefathers to set aside, protect and preserve place for generations they would never meet should not be overlooked by present day greed. 

You chose such a creative way to be involved and give back to protect public lands. Do you have advice for others who want to know how they can make a difference?  

The PLH stands to remove a resource that benefits a nation indefinitely and replace it by actions that benefit an exclusive few for a fleeting blink of an eye.  Ed Abbey famously stated that "the idea of wilderness needs no defense, only defenders." and that is where I believe we stand with the PLH. One of the scariest things about the public land heist campaign to me is how it seems to be slipping under the radar of so many would be advocates against it.  On a regular basis I bring it up to friends, family, and colleagues who's livelihoods depend on access to public lands and they are hearing about it for the first time. Share whats there, and not just virtually, share with others what is allready theirs in the first place.  Most that will read this most likely already recognize and utilize our public lands, but encouraging and enabling others to do so as well will only increase the decibels of our collective voice.