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.
February 2—8, 2017
W.L. Gore Turns It Up to 11
Their sustainability commitment, that is. In an announcement during ISPO last week, W.L. Gore & Associates announced its goal to eliminate all PFCs of environmental concern from DWR laminates by 2023. As a longtime member of OIA’s Sustainability Working Group, Gore has been a leader in chemicals management. We expect this announcement to echo throughout the outdoor supply chain.
OIA’s Senior Director of Sustainable Business Innovation, Beth Jensen, explains the effects of Gore’s move in a short blog post applauding Gore’s announcement.
Speaking of Sustainable Business…
SGB Online interviewed Nau co-founder Mark Galbraith on how “sustainability can be aesthetically progressive.”
That’s what a few thousand outdoorists were able to do last week through the power of grassroots advocacy. In a late–night Instagram post, Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) announced his withdrawal of H.R. 621. Cue a massive victory dance by outdoorists. The withdrawal was the result of pressure applied by vocal opponents who made their displeasure with the measure known via calls, letters, and e-mails. And while it was certainly a group effort, Outdoor Alliance’s Tania Lown-Hecht deserves some credit for organizing clear and strong messaging that spread far and wide.
What now? We continue to monitor and resist threats to public lands–including H.R. 622, which intends to terminate federal law enforcement on public lands. Want to make a call to your congressperson? There’s a script for that. Want a primer on outdoor advocacy? Click here. Meanwhile, some encouraging news out of Washington: Colorado’s congressional delegation is supporting five bills that aim to improve public lands access and to support water and property rights.
Yo, Donny. Slow Your Roll.
That’s what two law professors at University of Utah are asking President Trump and his Interior Secretary-designate to do on the issue of the Bears Ears National Monument. “Proceed cautiously in determining whether to abolish or change the Bears Ears National Monument,” they urged in an op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune noting that “while Utah’s elected officials are imploring [you] to take prompt action, a recent Colorado College poll reveals that Utah voters, by a 15-point margin, favor the Bears Ears designation.”
And Speaking of Utah…
Perhaps you’ve been following headlines about the future of the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow in Salt Lake City. Early this week, Outdoor Retailer—in a joint statement with OIA and Grassroots Outdoor Alliance—announced that they would “solicit proposals for venue locations for shows and events scheduled for November 2018 and beyond.” In the press release, OR Show Director Marisa Nichols said, “We aren’t opposed to staying [in Utah], but we need to do what’s best for the industry and for the business of outdoor retail.” To that and in response to concerns that Utah is unfriendly to and dismissive of the outdoor recreation economy, OIA Executive Director Amy Roberts added: “The appropriate location…should…uphold our industry’s core values around the importance of America’s public lands system. We will continue to educate policymakers on the economic contribution of our industry as well as our support of preserving places to recreate.”
Then Roberts hopped a plane to Washington D. C., where she is doing just that on behalf of the industry. She’ll also be talking with Utah’s policymakers, such as Utah’s House Speaker who recently said of the industry and trade show: “As with any corporate citizen, we would take their input and consider it like anything else we do.” According to Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s office, “There is a real opportunity to get the right people at the table to work through ‘win-win’ solutions on these issues.”
In a letter to the outdoor industry today, Roberts underscored that now is the time to unite—not to splinter—and to show up at industry gatherings to get involved in the fight for public lands. Now is not the time to “retreat down our own individual paths…Our industry is more powerful when we come together to send a unified message in support of our public lands.”
The Hits Keep Coming
The not-so-slow-nor-subtle assault on public lands continued last night as the House voted to scrap a provision that allows for a public review process of BLM projects. As noted in this action page, the review provision “considers all uses, including recreation, in a transparent process that provides multiple opportunities for public input.” The House vote last night and an expected similar vote by the Senate as early as today, will rollback “Planning 2.0”, just implemented this past December, when making management decisions about the 245-million acres of public land in its purview.
In Other News
Science once again affirmed what we already knew: Getting outside is good for your health. This time, studies reveal that weekend camping trips help to reset your sleep cycles–leading to a spread of health benefits.
Thanks to support from OIA members Patagonia and The North Face, our friends at The Conservation Alliance are adding staff to grow their advocacy program. Gregory was inducted into the Backpacker Magazine “Gear Hall of Fame” for their best-selling Baltoro 65 backpack. And on the topic of packs, Cotopaxi launched a Kickstarter for their first running pack.