Outdoor Retailer Education Session: Ask OIA Anything On Trade

OIA’s international trade program is dedicated to promoting a stable and predictable trade environment for outdoor businesses of all sizes, from domestic manufacturers to those that utilize global value chains to bring product to market. Members of OIA’s Trade Advisory Council (OIATAC) meet regularly to provide advice and guidance on new initiatives to help the bottom line of outdoor companies and to collaborate and exchange new ideas and best practices as they navigate tariffs, supply-chain disruptions, shipping costs and other challenges to their businesses. Watch our presentation from Outdoor Retailer Snow Show 2022 to learn from OIA’s outside trade counsels from Sorini Samet & Associates and members of OIATAC on the latest federal trade updates, challenges to outdoor supply chains and how OIA members are responding.

Moderator: Richard W. Harper, Jr., Director of Government Affairs, Outdoor Industry Association 


Ron Sorini, Principal, Sorini, Samet & Associates, LLC

Ben Christensen, Vice President of Operations, Simms Fishing Products 

Sara Bowersox, Senior Manager of Global Trade Compliance, Keen Footwear


Takeaways from the session include:

  • There is broad, bi-partisan support for getting even tougher on China with regard to trade. Punitive tariffs are likely to remain in place for some time.
  • While Congress and the administration focused on domestic priorities in 2021, there’s a chance we’ll see movement on some outstanding trade items early in 2022, like renewing the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and a package of miscellaneous tariff bills.
  • Outdoor companies are dealing with unprecedented challenges in bringing products to market, from high freight costs to congestion at US ports. Work on addressing these issues has gone up considerably. Some have found success in broadening partners in freight and logistics, adding more options.
  • Looking at the year ahead, outdoor companies are looking for any opportunity to help with their bottom line, from leveraging any duty savings, streamlining supply chains to developing multiple vendor relationships.

Audio Outdoorist: 2021 International Shipping Crisis

This is the second in our series about international trade and trade policy. In this episode, our director of government affairs Rich Harper and three members of our Trade Advisory Council, discuss the recent precipitous rise in shipping costs, which, on top of punitive tariffs, trade wars and the global pandemic, have made it difficult for our member companies to remain nimble and competitive. Recently, OIA sent a letter to the White House, calling on this administration to invite all stakeholders to the table to identify immediate solutions to the crisis and to enforce all existing regulations. In addition, we’re calling for support on legislation recently introduced in Congress to help alleviate the issues. To learn more about OIA’s advocacy work, to sign up for our trade alerts and to get involved in legislation to help outdoor companies address this crisis, reach out to Rich Harper, OIA Government Affairs Director.

White Paper: Outdoor Sports Insurance Highlights the Necessity of Network Security

For years, Network Security Insurance (commonly referred to as Cyber Liability Coverage) was widely regarded as a boutique coverage needed only by large corporations who store and process large volumes of consumer credit card information. In the later part of the last decade, however, this perception proved inaccurate when cyber-attacks on small to midsize businesses and retailers increased nearly 600%. Cyber extortion targeting small businesses now reigns supreme.

The good news is, Outdoor Sports Insurance has access to a wide array of insurance markets that write cyber policies specifically for the small business owner. These policies are both comprehensive in protection and breach response services, and affordable in premium.

Wrapped together with policies that cover the risks associated with hiking, camping, paddling or any outdoor activity, Outdoor Sports Insurance knows the market and has the products to fit any OIA member.

By definition, a “cyber attack”, or “security breach”, refers to unauthorized access to the IT infrastructure of a company by a third party (hacker) with the intent to corrupt, steal, or destroy data. The types of attacks hackers employ to achieve these ends runs a wide spectrum; Denial of Service (DoS), Phishing attacks, Password attacks and cross-site scripting attacks are just a few of the more common means by which hackers wreak havoc on a company’s network (and subsequently the daily operation of the business itself).

The most common attack, and by far the most damaging in terms of financial impact to victims, is the ransomware attack, commonly referred to as, “cyber extortion.” When a company has been hit with a ransomware attack, malicious software infiltrates a portion, or all, of the company’s IT mainframe. As malware increases in sophistication and complexity, so, too, do the extortion demands made upon the targeted companies. Between 2019 and 2020 alone, the number of companies that reported paying a ransomware extortion demand increased more than 300%.

According to a NetDiligence 2020 Cyber Claims study, the total cost of a network breach ranges anywhere from $1,000, to more than $120 million. The average cost to businesses with less than 200 employees is estimated to be $200K – $750K. Between 2018 and 2020, it is estimated that 45% of cyber-attacks targeted businesses with less than 200 employees. Less than 25% of those businesses carried the proper network security coverage, and even fewer had a formal incident response plan in place. Of the businesses impacted that did not carry the proper protection, more than 60% were out of business within 6 months.

Outdoor Sports Insurance works across multiple carriers to make sure all OIA businesses can find the right policy with the appropriate coverage at an affordable premium. In addition to the coverage itself, Outdoor Sports Insurance supplements the policies with risk management services and third party resources curated to ensure policy holders are equipped with the tools to mitigate the threat of an attack, and expedite the response time should an attack occur.

Included in the coverage portfolio, policy holders have access to a 24/7 cyber response hotline, educational tools to help network users identify threats and phishing campaigns, recommendations for protective software implementations, and best practices for user protocol of a business’s IT property and systems.

OIA has assembled best-in-class services provider partners to offer OIA special preferred pricing on goods and services in marketing, sales, sustainability, supply chain, finance, operations, research, rep associations, and trade shows. Outdoor Sports Insurance is one of those provider partners. Learn more about the OSI partner benefit for OIA members hereIn order to receive the discounted pricing offered, you must mention and confirm your OIA membership to the service provider.

Rob Martin and Tori Hoeschler from Outdoor Sports Insurance recently sat down with Rick Saez from The Outdoor Biz Podcast to chat skiing, outdoor adventure, and risk management. Learn about how Outdoor Sports Insurance, protects businesses from inherent risks to areas of exposure that are less obvious, including how small and mid-sized businesses are increasingly becoming targets of cyberattacks. Also hear about how proper waivers and training can save a shop, and how Outdoor Sports Insurance can help you with all of it.

To learn more about cybersecurity offerings from Outdoor Sports Insurance, please contact the team at outdoorsportsins.com, or email OSI@horizonagency.com. And check out this Outdoor Biz podcast featuring Rob Martin and Tori Hoeschler from OSI



Audio Outdoorist: A Conversation with the Trade Advisory Council

Hear from OIA’s Director of Policy, Rich Harper, and members of the OIA Trade Advisory Council (OIATAC) as they discuss the council’s important policy role. In this conversation, Rich is joined by:

  • Sara Bowersox, Sr. Manager, Global Trade Compliance, KEEN Footwear
  • Ben Christensen, Vice President, Operations, Simms Fishing Products
  • Jeff Tooze, Vice President, Global Customs & Trade, Columbia Sportswear

OIATAC reviews U.S. trade policy, relevant federal legislation and international trade negotiations, develops federal trade policy that may affect OIA membership and recommends policy positions to OIA government affairs staff and OIA leadership. It is made up of OIA members engaged in the business of manufacturing, marketing, and/or distributing outdoor recreation products. It includes representatives from small, medium and large entities representing all segments of the industry, including manufacturing, importers and retailers. OIATAC is administered and supported by OIA government affairs staff. Learn more about OIATAC here.

Subscribe to OIA’s Audio Outdoorist and listen to the full episode and other episodes anytime, anywhere. You can find the podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud

OIA Notes from the Hill: June 2021

Rich Harper Speaking at Outdoor Retailer

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen more Americans than ever benefit from the outdoors and enjoy the physical and mental health benefits that come from outdoor recreation. I have been heartened to see so many people discover the outdoors for the first time and make getting outside a regular part of their lives. It is also encouraging to see so many outdoor companies stepping up their advocacy in support of the outdoors, taking advantage of virtual meetings with members and Congress and the administration, publishing op-eds and signing letters to ensure that we’re able to protect and preserve these open spaces for new and long-time outdoorists and for future generations to come.

As vaccinations increase, businesses re-open and we return to a sense of normalcy, we look ahead to Outdoor Retailer Summer show in Denver and “The Summit” in Washington, D.C., in October, when we can gather in person to collaborate, build grassroots support and make our case to our elected representatives that our businesses thrive when the outdoors thrive. In the meantime, our advocacy work continues through new technologies as the administration pushes ahead with its ambitious infrastructure proposal: the American Jobs Plan.

Leadership Roundtable Meetings

In April, OIA convened another round of meetings with outdoor executives and key members of Congress and the administration on our climate, recreation and public lands policy agenda. With Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR), ranking member on the House Natural Resources Committee, and Senator Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), ranking member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, we stressed our commitment to build bipartisan support for robust efforts to combat climate change and ensure that all stakeholders have the opportunity to help develop and implement the “30×30” initiative. Former representative Cedric Richmond, senior advisor to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, welcomed the industry’s support for 30×30 and the American Jobs Plan, and we discussed how the outdoor industry and the administration can work together to get both initiatives across the finish line.

After organizing a Policy Forum for members of the State Outdoor Business Alliance Network with Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) in March, we followed up with a meeting of Minnesota outdoor executives in May in support of her legislation to protect the Boundary Waters, highlighting the importance of the business voice in securing this precious natural resource for generations to come. We will organize additional meetings for groups of outdoor businesses with their elected representatives to highlight our policy agenda and identify opportunities to collaborate, on a recurring basis, on legislation and other initiatives on behalf of the outdoors.

In these meetings, I was reminded once again of a distinct advantage outdoor companies have in Washington, D.C.: most members of Congress and the administration love the outdoors, have a favorite outdoor activity and are well aware of OIA members’ products. It’s an opportunity to begin a conversation and identify areas where we can work together to support the outdoor recreation economy.

Conservation/Public Lands

OIA has continued to highlight its support for two of the Biden administration’s key initiatives. In May, we celebrated the release of “Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful,” the administration’s blueprint on how to implement the 30×30 initiative. Twelve OIA members signed a letter to President Biden in support of his “American Jobs Plan,” stressing the importance of the climate provisions to the outdoor recreation economy. We were also proud to support Brenda Mallory to be chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which will play a critical role in the administration’s energy, environment and infrastructure efforts.

OIA continues to make progress on its policy agenda with Congress. We endorsed the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act, introduced by Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Rep. Neguse, to simplify the permitting process for outdoor guides, outfitters and others and legislation introduced by Rep. Neguse (D-CO) to provide $10 billion to create a Civilian Climate Corps, a key part of the president’s American Jobs Plan.

I was proud to record a wide-ranging conversation with Rep. Neguse, one of our congressional champions and OIA’s representative from Boulder, Colo., on how the industry can help enact his policy agenda for the outdoors, including his Civilian Climate Corps legislation, as well as the following:

  • The Parks Jobs and Equity Act to provide $500 million for urban parks
  • The CORE Act, legislation to protect 400,000 acres of Colorado wilderness

International Trade

On June 8, the Senate acted on three of OIA’s trade priorities: renewing the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), passing a package of miscellaneous tariff bills (MTBs) and creating a new exclusion process for the China 301 tariffs. A comprehensive bill on U.S. policy toward China, the “Endless Frontier Act” will do the following:

  • Renew GSP for six years until January 1, 2027, and refund any duties paid since January 1, 2021
  • Pass a package of MTBs, including eight footwear MTBs submitted by OIA, and authorize two new rounds of MTBs in 2022 and 2025
  • Create a new process to exclude certain products from the China 301 punitive tariffs

The legislation now moves to the House for consideration, and it is possible these provisions could still be modified or attached to another moving legislative vehicle. Following up on a March 2021 letter, OIA wrote to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee urging them to include another OIA priority in this trade package: a provision to add certain outdoor footwear products – like hiking boots, hiking shoes and trail running shoes – to the GSP program. We will continue to keep OIA members informed on the progress of this legislation.

In May, we hosted a Washington Town Hall on Trade for Outdoor Companies with our longtime outside trade consultants from Sorini Samet & Associates, the first in a series of quarterly events to provide OIA members the opportunity to ask any questions on U.S. federal trade policy and global supply chain management.

State and Local

As some state legislative sessions came to a close, OIA continued to advocate for our priorities at the state level, from supporting a 10-year, $30 million reauthorization for Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship program to urging California to pass legislation on  projects that tackle climate change and address issues related to equity in and access to the outdoors. OIA and the Outdoor Foundation participated in California Outdoor Recreation Partnership’s (CORP) 4th annual Sacramento Summit in support of outdoor legislation before the state legislature. We would like to thank OIA members who wrote their Colorado legislators in support of legislation to create a Colorado Outdoor Equity Grant Program that will connect more Colorado kids and their families to the outdoors. The Colorado legislature has passed this legislation, and it was signed into law by Governor Jared Polis (D-CO).

We also celebrated the release of a report prepared by the State Outdoor Business Alliance Network (SOBAN) on the future of the outdoor recreation economy and the critical investments needed for its continued success.

Upcoming Events: Outdoor Retailer

We’re excited to return to Denver for the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market show, August 10-12! This event will feature a mix of virtual and in-person educational presentations, including the following:

  • Tuesday, July 12 (virtual): Climate Action: Ambition, Collaboration and Practical Steps to Guide Our Industry’s Path to Climate Positive
  • Tuesday, July 20 (virtual): Building an Outdoors for All: How Outdoor Youth Programming Is Helping Address Equity Barriers in Communities Across the Country
  • Tuesday, July 27 (virtual): Implementing 30×30: The Essential Partnership of State and Local Stakeholders
  • Tuesday, August 3 (virtual): A Historic Opportunity on Climate and How Outdoor Companies Can Help
  • Tuesday, August 10 (live on the show floor): Confronting Threats to the Outdoors: Two Voices from Colorado and Capitol Hill
  • Wednesday, August 11 (live on the show floor): International Trade Panel Discussion (Topic: TBD)

Upcoming Events: The Summit

Save the Date!

This is NOT our traditional Capitol Summit. We will bring our industry leaders and partners together to tackle and advocate for the biggest issues facing our industry and the outdoors around climate, conservation and creating an equitable and inclusive outdoors.

It’s not Capitol Summit. It’s The Summit.

The pandemic has fueled an increase in outdoor participation and interest in issues affecting the outdoors. Consumers now view CEOs and the business community as the primary drivers for addressing and solving today’s biggest global challenges.

The Summit is where we will talk about the most important issues in our industry with the leaders who can make the most impactful changes. We plan to take the conversation outdoors and encourage everyone to see that the outdoors can be just outside your front door.

Join us in D.C. for in-person thought leadership and important conversations with industry peers and policymakers.

The Summit, October 5-7, 2021

  • Executive thought leadership and discussions
  • Advocating for the outdoors and outdoor industry
  • Time outside connecting with partners


We’re half-way through 2021, and we have so much more to accomplish by the end of the year on behalf of the outdoors and the outdoor recreation economy. Please contact me to learn more about how you and your company can get involved.

A Washington Town Hall on Trade for Outdoor Companies

When: Wednesday, May 5

OIA Director of Government Affairs Rich Harper will lead a discussion with OIA’s outside trade counsels, Ron Sorini and Andrew Samet, on the wide range of issues that impact global supply chains of critical importance to outdoor companies. Sorini, Samet & Associates has represented OIA for over 15 years, helping our membership navigate a myriad of issues, from punitive tariffs on products sourced from China to securing duty-free treatment for travel goods in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).

These are among the topics that Rich, Ron and Andrew will discuss:

  • China tariffs: how long they might continue and prospects for a new exclusion process
  • What the focus in Washington on forced labor means for the industry
  • Implications of the Biden administration’s Build Back Better plan for the industry
  • Shipping challenges for outdoor companies
  • The prospects for new tariffs or free trade stemming from the Section 301 investigations with Vietnam
  • The future of critical trade programs such as GSP and miscellaneous tariff bills (MTBs)
  • Your questions

OIA Notes from the Hill: April 7, 2021

Rich Harper Speaking at Outdoor Retailer

Outdoorists showed up in record numbers to vote last November in support of the outdoors. As a result, OIA and our members have the opportunity to work with a new administration and Congress to secure wins across our policy agenda. These priorities include preserving our public lands and waters, making sure the outdoors is open to all Americans, combatting climate change and promoting a stable and predictable trade policy for domestic manufacturers and importers alike.

The Biden administration and Congress moved quickly to tackle an ambitious domestic policy agenda, securing a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. Now, the debate in D.C. turns to how to implement President Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan and address climate change. We hit the ground running in 2021 and are ready to secure meaningful wins for the outdoor industry and OIA members.

January Leadership Roundtable Meetings

In early January, OIA convened a group of outdoor executives to meet with key members of the incoming Biden administration and Congress to discuss how we can work together to support the outdoor recreation economy. The group included the following officials:

  • Deb Haaland (D-NM), then Secretary of Interior nominee
  • Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
  • Jared Huffman (D-CA), Chairman of the Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee; House Natural Resources Committee
  • Gina McCarthy, head of new White House Office on Climate

Members highlighted the work of the Climate Action Corps, the benefits of the 30×30 initiative, and promoting more diversity and equity in the outdoors. We plan to organize another round of meetings in April to continue this dialogue and highlight OIA members as the business voice in support of recreation, public lands and climate initiatives.

Conservation, Climate, Outdoor Recreation and Public Lands

After he was sworn in, President Biden issued a series of Executive Orders highlighting key parts of our policy agenda, including rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, establishing a White House office on climate, supporting a Climate Conservation Corps and calling for a review of the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments.

In addition, he also called for a plan to implement the “30×30” initiative, an effort to conserve 30 percent of our nation’s lands and oceans by 2030 for the benefit of nature, people and climate resiliency. OIA sent a letter to the Biden administration signed by 30 members in support of this initiative and has been in active conversations with the administration and key partners on the development of the 30×30 plan. We anticipate much of the burden of implementing 30×30 will fall to the states, and, consequently, this will be a key focus of our state and local program.

We were also proud to support the historic nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), a longtime champion of the outdoors, to be the next secretary of the Interior. OIA organized a support letter signed by 34 members, and we applauded her confirmation on March 15. We look forward to a productive relationship in support of the outdoors and the outdoor recreation economy.

OIA continues to engage with key members of Congress and their staffs – Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO), Senator Susan Collins (D-ME), Senator Angus King (I-ME), Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), Rep. Blake Moore (R-UT) and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) – to identify opportunities to lead on recreation, public lands and climate. As Congress moves forward with the president’s “Build Back Better” plan, OIA will utilize the newly rebooted Recreation Advisory Council (RAC) to identify priorities and develop a comprehensive advocacy effort. The RAC is led by Taldi Harrison, government and community affairs manager from REI, and includes representatives from VF, Patagonia, NEMO Equipment, Orvis and L.L.Bean. Key legislative priorities will likely include the following:

  • Funding for a Civilian Conservation Corps
  • Investing in green infrastructure, including trails, LWCF projects, urban parks, and reforestation
  • Implementing the Great American Outdoors Act
  • Streamlining the recreational permitting process (SOAR Act)
  • Protecting 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado (CORE Act)
  • Implementing the 30×30 initiative

OIA will also continue to promote more equity and diversity in the outdoors. OIA endorsed legislation introduced by Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-CA) and Rep. Neguse to provide $500 million for urban parks. We have also had several conversations with Senator Heinrich’s (D-NM) staff about legislation he plans to introduce inspired by the Outdoor FUTURE Initiative to provide federal funding for state-based equity funds like those in New Mexico and Colorado.

In our conversations with members of Congress and their staffs, we are highlighting the work of the OIA Climate Action Corps and our willingness to be the outdoor business voice in support of the Biden administration’s climate agenda. While we are calling for big, bold climate legislation, we are also closely monitoring how the process for congressional consideration will play out.

In support of bold action on climate, we applauded the release of the president’s ambitious infrastructure proposal, including provisions on the following:

  • Investing $10 billion in a new Civilian Climate Corps
  • Creating good-paying jobs through electric vehicle manufacturing
  • Environmental justice and equity in the outdoors
  • Mobilizing the next generation of conservation and resilience workers
  • Maximizing the resilience of land and water resources to protect communities and the environment
  • Establishing the United States as a leader in climate science, innovation and R&D
  • Jump-starting clean energy manufacturing

By mid-April, we will identify and urge OIA members to support climate priorities that could be included in a final infrastructure package. OIA also signed a letter organized by the We Mean Business coalition, calling on the Biden administration to adopt an ambitious climate goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to at least 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

International Trade

A key goal of our trade program is to promote a stable and predictable federal trade policy for outdoor companies, something that has been sorely lacking over the past few years with trade wars, multiple rounds of punitive tariffs and the threat of new tariffs. While the Biden administration will focus initially on domestic priorities, we believe its emphasis on dialogue, negotiation and multilateralism will help give outdoor companies confidence and certainty to get back to doing what they do best: develop innovative outdoor apparel, footwear and equipment to enhance the outdoor experience. Consistent with our balanced trade policy, OIA will partner with Congress and the administration to lower costs for importers and domestic manufacturers alike.

A good first step for the administration would be to eliminate the punitive tariffs imposed on outdoor products sourced from China. OIA recently joined the Tariff Reform Coalition, a multi-industry and multi-association effort calling for the removal of these tariffs and a reassessment of the utility of punitive tariffs and the need for more congressional oversight on U.S. tariff policy.

OIA will also focus on two priorities that expired at the end of 2020: renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the main trade preference program for developing countries (Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia and others), and a package of outdoor footwear miscellaneous tariff bills (MTBs). Duty-free status for travel goods from GSP countries saved outdoor companies $300 million in 2019. MTBs are temporary (three-year) duty-suspension or duty-reduction bills that have saved outdoor companies $40 million in past rounds.

OIA sent a letter to the chair and ranking members of the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee urging them to renew GSP as soon as possible for a 10-year period and include an initiative drafted by OIA to make certain outdoor footwear products eligible for duty-free benefits under GSP for the first time. (We also expressed our willingness to engage in a conversation about expanding the requirements for beneficiary countries on human rights and the environment.) We expect to see movement on GSP and MTBs by the summer if not sooner.

Finally, OIA sent a letter of support for Katherine Tai to the be the next U.S. Trade Representative. We have worked with her during her time as a lead Democratic trade staffer on the House Ways and Means Committee and believe she has a good understanding of our balanced trade agenda. She was confirmed by the Senate on March 17.

State and Local

On March 24, OIA hosted a Policy Forum for members of the State Outdoor Business Association Network, a group of state-based outdoor business associations, at which we provided an update on our state and local program and highlighted our federal policy agenda. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) also spoke and provided an update on her Boundary Waters legislation and her assessment of the next steps for Congress on climate and infrastructure. Our goal is to reintroduce our state and local program to these groups and highlight our role as a convener and key resource for federal, state and local issues. We plan to organize additional events at least once a quarter.

We have had a great start to the year, but we have so much more to do to in support of our policy agenda in Washington, D.C., and across the country. Our success depends on the active engagement of our members with policymakers and their staffs; please contact me to learn more about how you and your company can get involved.


Presenters: George Cooper, Forbes-Tate; Rich Harper, Outdoor Industry Association; Taldi Harrison, REI; Amy Horton, Outdoor Industry Association; Mike Ratchford, W.L. Gore & Associates; Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.); Jeannie Renne-Malone, VF Corporation

Description: The 2020 general election was one of the most consequential in U.S. history for the outdoor recreation economy. And outdoor voters responded in record numbers in support of all aspects of our policy priorities. With a new administration and Congress, we now have the opportunity to build on the success of the Great American Outdoors Act and help tackle climate change, protect our public lands and waters, expand access to the outdoors for all Americans and help our industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic with new investments in green infrastructure and close-to-home recreation and a balanced trade agenda. Join us for an exciting conversation on what lies ahead for the outdoor recreation economy and how we can play a meaningful role.

Covid Edition: Letter from Our Executive Director

It is hard to believe a full year has passed since the global coronavirus pandemic shut down our nation, ravaged communities and caused economic disruption unseen in our lifetimes. We won’t soon forget the devastation, and there is still much work ahead to repair the damages the outdoor industry incurred. However, as I reflect on the past year, I am inspired by how our community came together to respond to this crisis and to deliver some powerful achievements, demonstrating our resilience and strength.

I am particularly proud of the following actions that OIA and our industry were able to take:

We conducted an industry-wide member survey to understand the business impacts of the pandemic and to learn how OIA can lend a hand with tools, resources and advocacy support. We heard from our members the value of focusing on critical outdoor issues such as equity in the outdoors, climate action, public lands, conservation, the outdoor recreation economy and trade. We also heard the need, loud and clear, for new ways for our community to convene. We have already begun delivering on these issues and will continue to do so in 2021 to demonstrate value to our members.

The outdoor industry showed up to support our critical work. We made many asks of you, our members, in the past 12 months, and we are humbled to share that your support will allow us to continue to serve to elevate the collective voice, influence and power of the outdoor industry. Thank you to those who stepped up to Leadership and Support membership levels.

Countless outdoor industry businesses rapidly pivoted their production to make millions of PPE units—including masks, face shields, gowns, ventilators and other critical equipment— for frontline workers. At OIA, we worked quickly to support our members with tools such as this webinar to help move efforts faster and further. Read the inspirational stories here.

Outdoor Retailer went virtual, and OIA pivoted to provide more than 20 education sessions at the Summer and Winter Online shows. Watch our on-demand sessions on topics ranging from DEI to outdoor recreation and from climate action to participation and trade.

OIA advocated on our industry’s behalf in Washington, D.C., and at the state level for economic disaster relief and delivered resources, such as our COVID-19 Hub and webinar and Campfire Conversation series. We also developed a comprehensive policy platform for the 2020 election and secured key meetings with the new administration and Congress.

Outdoorists committed to #VoteTheOutdoors and followed through. In a time of great political division and polarization, protecting the outdoors is one thing we can all agree on. Together through our #VoteTheOutdoors campaign, we were able to preserve public lands and waters, lower costs for outdoor businesses, help advance sustainable business practices and shape public policy.

Outdoor participation grew. Forthcoming research confirms what our industry was reporting anecdotally: people across the country were able to find a reprieve from the pandemic in outdoor activities like trail running, hiking, camping, fishing, biking and more. I take comfort in knowing our industry helped millions of Americans recreate safely through the Recreate Responsibly coalition and that retailers and outfitters across the country found new and creative ways to continue serving their customers, many of whom were newcomers. Our Special Report, The New Outdoor Participant (COVID and Beyond), will help you learn what motivated these newcomers and offer strategies for retaining them, even after pandemic restrictions are lifted.

The Thrive Outside Initiative released its first annual Impact Report. The Thrive Outside Initiative empowers communities to make outdoor recreation an accessible lifestyle for all. This effort is a catalyst to drive positive outcomes in critical areas such as health and wellness, youth development, social justice and community development—all more important than ever during the pandemic. Read what we were able to accomplish and how the communities adapted in year one.

We committed to building a just and equitable outdoors. As the association for the outdoor industry, we have a voice—and a corresponding responsibility to do more. The police killing of George Floyd and countless instances of racism and racial violence against Black people were horrific, and we know these events are not isolated and are part of a long history of systemic racism and injustice in our country and in the outdoors. Read our statement and commitment to do better, as well as the progress we made in 2020.

The Climate Action Corps grew to more than 80 members. In light of global circumstances around the pandemic, it would not have been surprising to see companies take a step back from their sustainability efforts. But the outdoor industry doubled down on its commitment to combat the climate crisis, and we gained dozens of new and committed Corps members. Learn more about our industry’s collective commitment to measure, plan and reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and share progress annually.

Despite the challenges and setbacks our industry endured over the past year, we also demonstrated incredible resiliency and unity. I am eager to see how this momentum carries our industry toward continued collaboration, innovation and growth.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to our membership team. We are here for you as we collectively work to recover.

Together We Are a Force,

Lise Aangeenbrug
OIA Executive Director