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An Open Letter: Together We Can Defend Our Public Lands

January 28, 2017
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Earlier this month, we joined over 100 other companies in the outdoor industry in signing an open letter to the White House addressing the fate of America’s public lands.  The Outdoor Industry Association, which is the leading trade association in the outdoor recreation industry, released the letter in response to growing concerns of Congress and the White House potentially pursuing the privatization of some public lands and national parks or transferring those lands to states.

While we recognize that more Americans than ever (the National Parks Service counted a record 325 million visitors in 2016) are using national parks, monuments and other public lands, privatizing parks would not serve to improve them. Instead, we fear that it would restrict access to parks.

We believe that the outdoors belongs to everyone, and that the freedom to explore brings us closer to ourselves and to nature. We believe in public lands that are accessible to all.

Defend our Public Lands

Please join us in this movement to defend our public lands and to keep them public. Click on this link to access the OIA letter and share via social media to amplify our message. And don’t forget to urge your elected officials to do the same.

Here’s the letter in its entirety:

To our elected officials and those who value America’s great outdoors:

This open letter expresses the view of more than 100 leaders of large and small businesses in the outdoor industry, which contributes more than $650 billion annually to the U.S. economy, generates $80 billion in tax revenue and employs more than 6 million people. Together, we represent a huge range of activities—from hiking to hunting and camping to conservation.

Our businesses make the lives of everyday Americans, from every corner of the political spectrum, healthier and happier. We do not often unite as an industry in the way we are today but we are compelled to make clear our collective view on a vitally important issue that affects the economic health of our industry, our local communities, and the lives of all Americans.

It is an American right to roam in our public lands. The people of the United States, today and tomorrow, share equally in the ownership of these majestic places. This powerful idea transcends party lines and sets our country apart from the rest of the world. That is why we strongly oppose any proposal, current or future, that devalues or compromises the integrity of our national public lands. 

Yet as the 115th Congress begins, efforts are underway that threaten to undermine over one hundred years of public investment, stewardship and enjoyment of our national public lands. Stated simply, these efforts would be bad for the American people. They include the potential of national public lands being privatized or given to states who might sell them to the highest bidder. This would unravel courageous efforts by leaders from across the political spectrum up to the present day, including Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt.

This is not a red or blue issue. It is an issue that affects our shared freedoms. Public lands should remain in public hands.

We hold these views both as leaders of the outdoor industry — which creates significant economic value for this country — and as individuals who believe deeply that the next generation should be free to benefit from our national public lands as we and our families do today.

The undersigned companies are therefore working together to ensure that all Americans maintain their right to our iconic national public lands and that it is not taken away.

Signed,

Outdoor Industry Association, Amy Roberts, Executive Director

Adventure 16. John D. Mead, President

Alpine Shop, Ltd., Russell Hollenbeck, President

Appalachian Outfitters, Mike & Karen Leffler, Owners

Ascent Solar Technologies, Victor Lee, President & CEO

Backbone Media, Penn Newhard, Founder & Managing Partner

Backcountry, Jonathan Nielsen, CEO

Backcountry North, Tracy Mayer, Owner

Backwoods Retail, Inc., Jennifer Mull, Owner & CEO

Benchmade Knife Company, David Fee, Vice President

BioLite, Jonathan Cedar, Founder & CEO

Black Creek Outfitters, Joe & Liz Butler, Owners

Black Diamond Equipment Ltd., John Walbrecht, President

Braided River, Helen Cherullo, Executive Director

Brook Hopper Consulting, Brook Hopper, Founder & CEO

Brooks Running Company, Jim Weber, CEO

Campmate, Chris Holt, CEO

Cascade Designs, David Burroughs, President

Cedar Ravine, Stephanie Carmi & Christine Stahr, Co-Founders

CGPR LLC, Chris Ann Goddard, President

Chaco, Seth Cobb, President

Champaign Surplus, Dan & Shira Epstein, Owners

Clif Bar & Company, Kevin Cleary, CEO

Columbia Sportswear Company, Tim Boyle, President & CEO

Combat Flip Flops, Matthew Griffin, CEO

Concept III Textiles, Christopher Parkes, President

Confluence Watersports, Sue Rechner, President & CEO

Dakine, Ken Meidell, CEO

Darn Tough Vermont, Ric Cabot, President & CEO

Denali, Chris Howe, Owner

Diamond Brand Outdoors, Will Gay, Owner

DPS Skis, Stephan Drake, Owner

Eagle Creek, Roger Spatz, President

Eastside Sports, Chris Iversen & Todd Vogel, Co-Owners

eGrips, Chris Klinke, President

Elevenpine, Jeff Curran, CEO

Equinox Ltd., Robert Cross, President

Exxel Outdoors, LLC, Harry Kazazian, CEO

Far Bank Enterprises, Travis Campbell, President & CEO

Feral Mountain Co., Jimmy Funkhouser, Owner

First Lite, Kenton Carruth, Co-Founder and Owner

Fishpond, John Land Le Coq, Founder & CEO

Flowfold, James Morin, Owner & COO

Garmont, Bill Dodge, CEO

Goal Zero, William Harmon, General Manager

Good To-Go, David Koorits, Founder

Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, Rich Hill, President

Great Outdoor Provision Co., Travis Zarins, Owner

GU Energy Labs, Brian Vaughan, Founder/CEO

Hipcamp, Alyssa Ravasio, Founder & CEO

HippyTree, Andrew Sarnecki, Founder/CEO

Hydro Flask, Scott Allan, General Manager

Ibex Outdoor Clothing, Ted Manning, CEO

IceMule Coolers, James Collie, Founder/CEO

Idaho Mountain Touring, Chris & Jill Haunold, Owners

IPA Connect, Andy Marker, President/Founder

JanSport, Steve Munn, President

Jax Mercantile Co., Jim Quinlan, President

Kammok, Haley Robison, CEO

Keen, Casey Sheahan, CEO

Klean Kanteen, Jim Osgood, President & CEO

Kokatat, Steve O’Meara, Founder/CEO

Kuhl, Kevin Boyle, President

La Sportiva N.A., Inc., Jonathan Lantz, President

Light Speed Outdoors, Brian Cox, CEO

L.L. Bean, Stephen Smith, President & CEO

Lucy, Laurie Etheridge, President

Manzanita Outdoor LLC, David Wheeler, Owner

Massey’s Outfitters, Mike Massey, President

Merrell, Inc., Jim Zwiers, President

MiiR, Bryan Papé, Founder & CEO

MONTANE, Jake Doxat, Managing Director

Mountain Hardwear, Dennis Randall, CMO

Mountain Khakis, Ross Saldarini, President

Mountain Safety Research (MSR), Chris Parkhurst, Vice President

Mountain Works, Inc., Jim Smith, President

MTI Adventurewear, Lili Colby, Owner

My Outdoor Alphabet, Seth Neilson, CEO

Native Eyewear, John Sanchez, General Manager

Nau International, Inc., Mark Galbraith, General Manager

Nemo, Cam Brensinger, CEO

New Balance, Rob DeMartini, President & CEO

Nikwax North America, Rick Meade, President

Oboz Footwear, John Connelly, CEO

Oru Kayak, Roberto Gutierrez, Founder & CCO

Orvis, Perk Perkins, CEO

Osprey Packs, Layne Rigney, President

Outdoor Research, Dan Nordstrom, CEO

Outside Brands / Outside Hilton Head, Mike Overton, CEO

Pack & Paddle, John Williams, President

Pack Rat Outdoor Center, Scott & Carolyn Crook, Founders & Owners

Packtowl, Doug Jacot, Vice President

Patagonia, Rose Marcario, President & CEO

Peak Design, Peter Dering, Founder & CEO

Petzl America, Nazz Kurth, President

Piragis Northwoods Company, Steve Piragis, Owner

Pistil Designs, Todd Douglass, Forrest Jones & Pete Hixson, Founders

Platypus, Doug Jacot, Vice President

Point6, Peter Duke, CEO

Portland WoolenMills, Doug Hoschek & Tina Machuca, Owners

prAna Living, Scott Kerslake, CEO

Ramsey Outdoor, Stuart and Michael Levine, Owners

Redington, Travis Campbell, President & CEO

Red Lantern Journeys, Ambrose Bittner, Founder & Managing Director

REI Co-op, Jerry Stritzke, President & CEO

Rio, Travis Campbell, President & CEO

Rising Tide Associates, David Costello, Principal

River Sports Outfitters, Ed McAlister, Owner

Roads Rivers and Trails, Emily White, Co-Founder & Owner

Rock Creek Outfitters, Dawson Wheeler, Founder

Roots Rated, Fynn Glover, Founder/CEO

Royal Robbins, Michael Millenacker, CEO

Ruffwear, Patrick Kruse, R&D Director & Founder

Rutabaga Paddlesports, Darren Bush, Owner & CEO

rygr, Brian Holcombe, Principal

Sage, Travis Campbell, President & CEO

Salewa North America, Brian Mecham, General Manager

Sanitas Sales Group, Keith Reis, President

SCARPA North America, Kim Miller, CEO

SealLine, Doug Jacot, Vice President

Simms, K.C. Walsh, President & CEO

Skinny Skis, Phil Leeds & Scott O’Brien, Owners

Soar Communications, Chip Smith, President

Sorel, Mark Nenow, President

Stanley PMI, Kelly Kraus, Vice President, Stanley Brand

Stio, Stephen Sullivan, Founder/ CEO

Summit Hut, Dana Davis, President & Co-Owner

Sunday Afternoons, Inc., Sarah Sameh, CEO

Sunlight Sports, Wes Allen, Owner

Superfeet Worldwide, John Rauvola, CEO

Tahoe Mountain Sports, Dave Polivy, Co-Owner

Tenkara USA, Daniel Galhardo, Founder & CEO

Terra, PR, Alli Noland, Founder

The Base Camp, Scott Brown, Owner

The Mountaineer, Vinny McClelland, President

The North Face, Scott Baxter, Group President

The Outbound Collective, Brian Heifferon, Founder & CEO

The Trail Head, Todd Frank, Owner

The Toggery, Trek Stephens, President

Therm-a-Rest Brands, Doug Jacot, Vice President

Timberland, Jim Pisani, President

Toad&Co, Gordon Seabury, CEO (& OIA board chair)

Topo Athletic, Tony Post, Founder & CEO

Trail Creek Outfitters, Ed Camelli & Brian Havertine, Owners

Trango, Chris Klinke, President

Travel Country, Mike Plante, Owner

Trek Light Gear, Seth Haber, Founder & CEO

22 Designs, Chris Valiante, Owner

Ute Mountaineer, Bob Wade & Maile Spung, Owners

Vans, Doug Palladini, President

Verde Brand Communications, Kristin Carpenter-Ogden, President and Founder

VF Corporation, Steve Rendle, President & CEO

Weighmyrack, Allison Dennis, Founder & CEO

Western Spirit Cycling, Ashley Korenblat, CEO

What’s UP Public Relations, Beth L. Cochran, Founder/Owner

Wild Things, LLC, Edward M. Schmults, CEO

Wolverine Worldwide, Inc., Blake Krueger, CEO

Woolrich, Inc., Nick Brayton, President

Yakima Products, Ryan Martin, CEO

Zumiez, Inc., Tom Campion, Founder & Chairman

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1 Comment

  • Reply Cynthia Meyer March 22, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Yes, nature, the out of doors is truly a part of ourselves, a doorway to knowing ourselves better. This wonderful letter captures my deep sentiments. Thank you and please protect our public lands from private interest.

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