Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA), Outdoor Alliance and The Conservation Alliance this afternoon presented Public Land Heist Roundtable – How State Takeover Threatens the Outdoor Industry. The 90 minute roundtable discussion, which was held in conjunction with the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2015 in downtown Salt Lake City, brought together political experts with conservationists, the sportsmen community, outdoor enthusiasts and business leaders from across the outdoor industry to join in opposition to state takeover of federal lands.
The discussion focused on the direct threat the outdoor industry and the outdoor recreation economy faces by from state and federal policy proposals to take over federally managed public lands in 11 states across the West. Panelists and attendees explored what the outdoor community can do to fight back.
Members in the roundtable included: Steve Barker, OIA; John Sterling, The Conservation Alliance; Adam Cramer, Outdoor Alliance; Whit Fosburgh, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership; Jennifer Rokala, Center for Western Priorities; Lori Weigel, GOP polling firm Public Opinion Strategies; Peter Metcalf, Black Diamond.
America’s public lands are home to countless hiking and biking trails, river routes, fish and wildlife habitats and thousands of rock climbing areas. If these land transfer measures are passed, it would have devastating consequences for the $646 billion outdoor recreation economy and the local communities that rely on access to these recreation resources.
The various bills could potentially transfer millions of acres of public land to state governments, whose legislatures would be able to more easily create pathways to privatization and development or even auction off large swaths to the highest bidder.
“Westerners tend to view our public lands as belonging to the nation – not to any one state – and therefore a majority opposes having state government assume control and the cost of managing these lands,” said Lori Weigel, Partner with Public Opinion Strategies.
The outdoor industry and recreation community was encouraged throughout the event to get involved. A petition has been created and can be found at www.protectourpublicland.org. The purpose of the petition is not only to help protect these threatened public lands but also to give notice to the elected leaders who are sponsoring the current land measures that they are alienating a large and important constituency.
“Our industry’s continued vibrancy, American’s healthy passion for active outdoor recreation is predicated first and foremost on our public lands remaining public, well stewarded, and thoughtfully protected,” said Peter Metcalf, co-founder of Black Diamond. “In Utah a rash and ill thought-out attempt to expropriate America’s public land would be devastating for our industry, for the state’s economy, for tourism, and for our quality of life which is built upon active recreation on pristine public lands.”
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 active outdoor lifestyle industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA supports the growth and success of more than 4,000 employees of manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives, and retailers of outdoor recreation apparel, footwear, equipment and services. For more information, go to outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.
About 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 $14 million to grassroots conservation groups. Alliance funding has helped save more than 44 million acres of wildlands; protect 2,825 miles of rivers; stop or remove 26 dams; designate five marine reserves; and purchase nine climbing areas.
For complete information on the Conservation Alliance, see www.conservationalliance.com.
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, 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.