ICYMI: What's Happening Around the Industry
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.
June 8–June 14, 2017
Judgement Day Arrives: Our Fears for Bears Ears
After one of the largest public comment campaigns in public lands history, Interior Secretary Zinke made his first official recommendation for Bears Ears National Monument. To put it simply: we were happy to hear the Secretary call the Antiquities Act an American success, but “OIA is disappointed by today’s interim recommendations” because it could leave some of the beautiful (Zinke’s word) recreation assets in the area unprotected. We have a few thoughts on the matter, so our executive director, Amy Roberts, penned this letter about it. You can read Zinke’s press release here, and if you’re ambitious, the official document here.
The short version? Secretary Zinke is recommending to shrink the boundaries of Bears Ears, potentially breaking it up into National Conservation and Recreation Areas that would have to be designated by Congress. This could work, in theory, but in practice, we have seen this Congress try to pass legislation on Bears Ears, and it hasn’t worked after years of good faith efforts on the parts on the recreation community. Moral is that we should learn from the past and acknowledge it probably won’t happen in the future.
Want more industry stories on Bears Ears? Ask and ye shall receive:
- REI Co-op CEO Jerry Stritzke’s letter to Interior Secretary Zinke
- This op-ed in The Hill on Zinke’s monuments review
- Outside Online coverage after the press call
Wish you could bend Zinke’s ear one more time? You can. He has extended the comment period for Bears Ears until July 10, 2017. Register your comments today at OIA’s Advocacy Center (comments are filed directly to www.regulations.gov).
Woot Woot for WUAW
Some outdoor brands are reaching beyond our industry’s boundaries to tackle issues such as women’s empowerment and immigration. Take OIA member Flowfold for example. They recently created a bag line in collaboration with Women United Around the World to support training and education of immigrant women in Maine. Intrigued, we scooted over to the Flowfold shop to scope out the wares and had a bittersweet surprise in a “sold out” note–the line was so successful Flowfold’s first batch has already been scooped up. Don’t fret, they’re planning another run soon.
To PFD or Not To PFD? That Is the Question. Wisconsin Ponders the Answer
Do you even paddleboard, bro? Outdoor Foundation found that participation in stand-up paddleboarding increased more than 187 percent between 2010 and 2015, which means outdoorists are hitting the water in record numbers. As the sport grows in popularity, so do safety regulations. Wisconsin is currently debating a requirement of personal flotation devices for SUPers. In one corner, we have folks arguing safety first, always, period. In the other corner, opponents argue that many paddlers are out on “flat glass water” and should be able to decide for themselves whether or not to include PFDs in their gear kit. Currently, Wisconsin requires one PFD per passenger on all boats, canoes, kayaks and paddleboards.
The Windy City Gets Some Outdoorist Gusto
Last week, our own Cailin O’Brien-Feeney was on the ground in Chicago discussing how outdoor recreation supports competitive urban economies. In addition to keynoting an event with Chicago Loop Alliance with James Morro, founder of Urban Kayaks, and Ashvin Lad from Breakwater Chicago, O’Brien-Feeney explored topics like outdoor trends, millennials, the outdoor recreation economy and more on WGN Radio’s “The Opening Bell.” You can listen to the broadcast here. Cailin’s segment begins around 15:00.
Bipartisan Wildfire Disaster Funding Gets a Digital Standing Ovation
When a natural disaster (think: hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, oh my) strikes, it requires a pile of cash to jumpstart the recovery process. For most disasters, there’s a dedicated pile of moolah ready to go to work. For wildfires, though, there’s no pile. It’s more of a beg, borrow, steal situation, which means wildfire season inevitably leads to a financial nightmare, especially for recreation projects that tend to be kicking off at the same time wildfire season hits. Thankfully, an iteration of a previously introduced bipartisan bill has been introduced again to end the wildfire fund borrowing. Representatives Mike Simpson (R-ID, 2nd) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR, 5th) introduced the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2017 (WDFA), creating a viable solution to the funding snafu. We, as in outdoorists everywhere, are elated. The Nature Conservancy has a roundup of all the happy hoopla.
Guardians of the Outdoorist Galaxy
Reddit is the internet’s ultimate open forum. It’s where videos go to become viral, trolling commenters go to get crucified, and, this week, where The Guardian reporter and series editor Caty Enders went to invite the world to ask her anything about public lands. It’s in honor of The Guardian’s new “This Land is Your Land” series. Scrolling through the comments provides perspective on how the rest of the world views public lands and outdoor space. Check out her AMA thread (that’s internet lingo for Ask Me Anything). Bravo to Enders for braving the digital gauntlet.
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.