February 18, 2015 – Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) and industry leaders representing more than four dozen outdoor businesses have signed on to a thank-you letter sent to Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell for recent proposals of Wilderness designation for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This would be the first Wilderness designation for a refuge that a president will have recommended to Congress since 1974.
The outdoor industry supports more than six million American jobs, generates $646 billion in direct consumer spending and contributes $80 billion in federal, state and local taxes. In Alaska, outdoor recreation generates $9.5 billion in consumer spending, supports 92,000 jobs and generates $711 million in state and local tax revenue.
While the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge does not receive the number of visitations seen at other iconic American landscapes like the Grand Canyon or Yosemite Valley, it stands on equal ground with these spectacular, long-protected areas when it comes to recreation. Visitors to the Refuge can view a multitude of wildlife, raft some of the wildest rivers on Earth, fish for Arctic char, and literally backpack and ski for hundreds of miles.
In addition to its outstanding recreation opportunities, it provides habitat for polar bears, caribou and birds that migrate from six continents. The refuge is also part of the ancestral home of the Gwich’in people, and provides sustenance for those Gwich’in who continue to live in communities nearby.
“We applaud Secretary Jewell and the Administration’s thoughtful approach to the Refuge’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan,” said Steve Barker, Interim Executive Director of OIA. “The outdoor industry has worked for decades to protect this important ecosystem and recreation destination, and we are looking forward to helping Secretary Jewell with the next steps on passing Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Wilderness designation.”
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.