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.
March 9—15, 2017
Legendary rock climber and founder of Royal Robbins clothing, Royal Robbins died March 14. In a statement on its website, the brand said: “Royal was extremely special to us. He and his wife, Liz, founded Royal Robbins in 1968 as an active lifestyle apparel company for rock climbers, adventurers and travelers. Royal was a leading figure in the Golden Age of Yosemite Valley climbing and was one of the first and most vocal proponents of clean climbing. In 1967, Royal and Liz Robbins made the first ascent of Nutcracker in the Yosemite Valley using only removable nuts for protection. It was the first climb of its kind in the United States and it started a clean climbing revolution.” The website’s blog also features articles about his notable accomplishments on rock and water, noting that, “in addition to his pioneering climbing feats, Royal was also a pioneering white water kayaker, claiming numerous first descents in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Alongside climbing buddies like Doug Tompkins and Yvon Chouinard, Royal moved from Rock to River in order to challenge himself once again.”
Meanwhile Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were flooded with memorials and obituaries, many of them noting that he was not only a visionary climber but also an early and vocal environmental advocate. Royal will be deeply missed.
Welcome to Tax Season
And we don’t just mean filing ‘em. The finer nuances of outdoor industry trade doesn’t always hit the mainstream–but when it does, it makes big waves. Case in point: the proposed border adjustment tax, Congress’ attempt to bring more manufacturing jobs back to the United States. This tax could significantly impact manufacturers, retailers and consumers, including those of us in the outdoor market, as SNEWS explains. When will the border adjustment tax go into effect? How will it affect products? And what about import tariffs? You’ve got questions, and we have answers.
Speaking of taxes, some have argued that the outdoor industry is not paying a fair share of the investment needed for our land and water. So where do we stand on this idea of a “Backpack Tax”? You can read all about it here.
Big Sky Country Goes Inside Baseball on Outdoor Rec
Dozens of outdoor business owners and leaders joined Montana Governor Steve Bullock for an industry summit at the state’s Capitol last week. The topic? How to grow the outdoor industry. The discussions spanned everything from presentations on public lands to exploring a bid to host Outdoor Retailer. The summit’s main focus was helping Montana businesses, and Bullock express support in committing state resources to help expand outdoor product manufacturing in his state.
Fixing Cities Park-ing Problems
When you think of big cities, you likely picture concrete jungles and sky-scraping development as far as the eye can see. It’s time to start adding a dash of nature to those municipal mental images. In cities like Chicago and Philadelphia, the expansion and revitalization of local parks and recreational spaces is bringing new life to urban areas. As outdoorists know, reaping the benefits of fresh air and sunshine doesn’t always look like a winding single-track through the mountains. For many, getting outside takes the form of a jog along a paved path, a game of pick-up basketball or a casual picnic with family. We’re thrilled to see cities embracing the integration of recreational outdoor spaces in the mix of development and urbanization.
Because When You’re Feeling Blue, Green Makes It Better.
Whether it’s overwhelming deadlines, office-induced cabin fever or a generally bleak perspective after weeks of relentless assaults on our public lands, it’s easy to feel anxious or depressed these days. Bad news: We can’t tackle those deadlines for you. Good news: You may just be suffering from nature withdrawal. Author Florence Williams spent years studying the connection between nature and our mental state–and outdoorists won’t be surprised by her findings. Williams claims that bringing nature back in our lives makes us “more relaxed, more creative, and more socially connected.” So the next time you’re craving an extra long lunch break to hit the trails, tell your boss it’s healthcare.
All We Are Saying…
…is give Zinke a chance. That’s the plea from the editorial board at the Seattle Times. Despite a no vote from Washington democratic Senator Maria Cantwell on Zinke’s confirmation, the board is hopeful that Zinke—himself a Westerner cut from the Teddy Roosevelt cloth of conservationism—will follow through on his promises to protect national public lands throughout the West, including the 64 percent of Washington state’s public land that is owned by all of us. As the board notes in the editorial: “Zinke is now the nation’s highest-ranking advocate for those lands…[and] given the circumstances, it’s wiser to give Zinke a chance than reject him out of hand because he doesn’t have the emerald environmental credentials of his predecessor, former REI CEO Sally Jewell.”
Meanwhile, Down South, Marty Fights The Good Fight
In an op-ed in the Santa Fe New Mexican, the state’s democratic Senator Martin Heinrich reminded his constituents that, despite threats to “erase places like Rio Grande del Norte and the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks national monument…we must remember that democratic engagement works.” Heinrich cited the recent withdrawal of a bill to sell off public lands, including a million acres in New Mexico, following backlash from angry outdoorists. “When we make our voices heard, we can demonstrate to policymakers how important it is to all of us to keep public lands in public hands.”
Patagonia Goes Full Throttle for Bears Ears
For the last six months, Bears Ears has continually captured the attention of the outdoor industry. First, we rallied to protect it. Now, we’re rallying to protect its protection. OIA member Patagonia launched a massive campaign supporting the monument, including virtual reality experiences, 360-degree videos, and a series of TV ads. Complete with its own microsite, This is Bears Ears highlights the regions cultural heritage, recreational assets, and provides actionable ways for Americans to get involved in the fight to keep monument designation.
The battle rages on, but this new campaign proves that Bear Ears National Monument isn’t going down easily. As some Nevada outdoorists already know, new monuments like Bears Ears and Gold Butte “represent tourist gold for our state[s].”
Gander Goes Under
Retailer Gander Mountain Company announced it filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week–citing the growing trend of direct-to-consumer sales as a contributing factor. Over 30 stores are slated for closure in the coming months–yikes. The hybridization of brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, and pop-up retail is creating some interesting new business practices, and we’ve got the scoop on how to keep up with the evolving market.