Boulder, CO, Feb. 16, 2011
From the OIA:
Joined by six outdoor industry leaders and introduced by Sally Jewell—president and CEO of REI, a leading outdoor retailer—President Obama unveiled a report on America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) focused on connecting Americans to the great outdoors.
Entitled America’s Great Outdoors: A Promise to Future Generations (Report) the Report leads with a chapter on the benefits of active, outdoor lifestyles and time spent in nature. Citing the nearly 80 percent of Americans living urban lifestyles; children spending seven hours daily in front of electronic devices; and a tripling of childhood obesity rates in the last generation, the president called for:
• Establishing a 21st century Conservation Service Corps to engage young Americans in public lands and water resortation.
• The federal agencies to support outdoor recreation access and opportunities on public lands.
“President Obama understands that getting Americans active and outdoors builds healthy people and healthy communities,” said Sam Solomon, president & CEO of The Coleman Company. “The strategic investments President Obama outlined in this Report will pay dividends in our communities and our recreation economy.”
In his FY 2012 budget and the Report, the president identified the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) as the lead federal program providing access for recreation and sportsmen to public lands and waters, and close-to-home recreation through parks, trails and waterways.
“I applaud the president for calling for full funding of LWCF to enhance America’s great outdoors,” said Will Manzer, CEO of Eastern Mountain Sports. “LWCF is the single best source of funds for development and enhancement of local and federal protected areas and recreational amenities. For this initiative to succeed, the creation, restoration, and enhancement of safe, close-to-home recreation opportunities are vital, and LWCF is the key to the development of a robust recreation infrastructure.”
A special chapter on youth engagement will also be included in the Report. In 2010, the administration hosted 21 youth-specific listening sessions to hear the concerns and advice of America’s youth have on outdoor activities and recreation. Chris Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation, hosted last summer’s Outdoor Nation Youth Summit in New York City which drew over 500 young people from across the country to strategize youth engagement.
“This Report speaks to youth and their role in moving America forward,” Fanning said. “The AGO process has empowered kids nationwide and they are our hope for the future. This is about kids who want to be outside in nature, kids who want to adopt and steward our natural resources.”
Outdoor industry leaders attending the event today:
• Sally Jewell, President & CEO, REI
• Will Manzer, CEO, Eastern Mountain Sports
• Steve Rendle, President, VF Outdoor, Inc. (Vanity Fair)
• Sam Solomon, President & CEO, The Coleman Company
• Chris Fanning, Executive Director, Outdoor Foundation
• Frank Hugelmeyer, President & CEO, Outdoor Industry Association
The release of the Report does not mark an end to the initiative. The report recommends the creation of an interagency AGO Council to enhance collaboration on recreation and conservation between federal agencies. The report also recommends the creation of the Partnership for AGO composed of non-governmental stakeholders to promote innovation, augment partnerships, and invest in the future of America’s great outdoors.
Founded in 1989, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the premier trade association for companies in the active outdoor recreation business. OIA provides trade services for over 4000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers in the outdoor industry. Outdoor Industry Association seeks to ensure a healthy and diverse specialty retail and supply chain based on quality, innovation and service. To this end, OIA works diligently to raise the standards of the industry; increase participation in outdoor recreation to strengthen business markets; provide support services to improve member profitability; represent member interests in the legislative/regulatory process; promote professional training and education; support innovation; and offer cost-saving member benefits.