ICYMI: The Outdoor Report

Welcome to our weekly roundup of noteworthy outdoorsy headlines. We’ve combed the social networks and scoured the news outlets to curate some of the most relevant and most intriguing stories out there. Read. Enjoy. Share.

By Katie Boué January 25, 2017

January 19–24, 2017

Last week, a new administration took occupancy of the White House. Inauguration Day delivered a flood of commentary from all sides and persuasions, and the media is still talking about it. Meanwhile, members of the outdoor industry chose to walk while they talk. Take, OIA member Sunski, for example, which donated 100% of sales on Inauguration Day to 1% For The Planet, and Kammok commemorated the occasion by taking the 1% Oath. Since then, a lot has happened in our red, white, and blue country.

Rest In Peace, TPP
Well, that didn’t take long. The Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement has been laid to rest. While the deal has been a source of controversy for our community since its inception, we supported the TPP because it was “consistent with our balanced trade policy, reflects our industry’s values of social and environmental responsibility and will provide significant and meaningful commercial benefits to outdoor companies.” The journey ahead for international trade and outdoor goods is now TBD. “Will the TPP’s demise help spur American manufacturing, as Trump has promised to do?” That’s one of the questions an article on Outside Online attempted to answer last week. Meanwhile, OIA’s own Rich Harper, manager of international trade, explains: “With TPP on ice, we have an opportunity to focus on outdoor-specific interests.” And Executive Director Amy Roberts believes this presents an opportunity for our industry to press the environmental issues TPP would have addressed.

“We’ll create a diversion.” Congress puts public lands back on the chopping block
Wait, what just happened? While the world kibitzed about dismantling Obamacare and how many people attended the inauguration, the House of Representatives took steps that would make it easier to sell public lands without full accounting for their economic value. This action essentially paves the way for the public lands heist, allowing federal land to be sold even if it costs the government money to do so. You can read the official bill here.

Action Item:
You can call 202-225-3121 or click here to be connected to your representatives and directly deliver your thoughts on the value of public lands.

Message received: It’s time for the outdoor industry to really roll up our sleeves in the fight to protect our nation’s natural spaces. The full-page open letter on public lands we ran in the Washington Post last week, signed by more than 150 outdoor businesses, was a good place to start, and will give you some helpful talking points.

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop
Trump enacted a federal hiring freeze. Reminder: National Park rangers, administrators and staff are all federal employees–who are already struggling to deal with record-breaking park attendance and maintenance backlogs. The National Parks Conservation Association was quick to release a statement calling the freeze a “danger to parks.”

The National Park Service was temporarily silenced on Twitter–and then promptly reinstated–after retweeting images comparing Trump’s and Obama’s inauguration crowd sizes. But not before a park or two went rogue. The NPS deleted the tweets in question, apologized with a photo of a lonely bison, and narrowly avoided an outdoor uproar. Tweet on, NPS.

In Other Outdoor News…

Let’s talk about diversity
Social networks everywhere were atwitter with diversity conversations, and that includes among the outdoor industry. We’re beginning to look inward to scrutinize our community’s demographics. Heated as it is, the conversation is one everyone appears ready to have.  The outdoor industry indeed lacks in diversity—something we have been mindful about for quite some time. As we have cast a wider net with our TWAAF campaign we are seeing more diversity and look forward to rolling out those pairings in weeks and months to come. Still, there’s much progress to be made and we remain committed to that effort via our partnerships and participation, which is one of OIA’s three pillars. Diversity (of age, race, gender and other demographics) is an issue at the top of our priorities in 2017.

Easy listening
What does the future of outdoor recreation look like? Verde PR asked our own Jessica Wahl the industry’s burning questions during a podcast that hit every topic from land management to specialty outdoor retail. Bonus points: You can enter to win a pair of KEEN boots just for listening.


Want more from the industry? Check out last week’s ICYMI and tweet us with your finds for the top outdoor stories for next week’s edition.