Outdoor Participation Hits Record Levels for Ninth Consecutive Year

2024 Outdoor Participation Trends Report reveals outdoor recreation grew to over 175 million participants with increasing numbers of women, people of color, and seniors

 

BOULDER, COLO [June 18th, 2024] – Today, Outdoor Foundation (OF) and Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), the longtime authority on outdoor participation research and data, released findings from their 2024 Outdoor Participation Trends Report. The report provides members of the outdoor industry exclusive participation data and activity insights that will inform business strategies for the year ahead.

The 2024 Outdoor Participation Trends Report shows that the outdoor recreation participation base grew 4.1% in 2023, to a record of 175.8 million participants, a number that represents 57.3% of the United States population. The number of outdoor recreation participants increased across demographics and activities as new, more casual participants began hiking, biking, camping, running, and fishing.

Other key findings of the 2024 Outdoor Participation Trends Report include:

  • In 2023, 22.2 million more Americans aged six and older participated in outdoor recreation than were participating in 2019.
  • For the first time ever, more than half of American women participated in outdoor recreation.
  • Members of the LGBTQ+ community continued to be the most active adult cohort.
  • The participant base became more ethnically and racially diverse in 2023, but not by much. 69.7% of participants are White, 10.3% are Black, 13.4% are Hispanic, 5.3% are Asian or Pacific Islander, and 1.4% identify as people with other ethnic/racial origins.
  • The average number of outings per participant in 2023 fell 11.4% – from 70.5 outings per participant in 2022 to 62.5 outings per participant in 2023.
  • In 2023, 7.7 million Americans tried one or more outdoor recreation activities for the first time.

“For any business that wants to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace, understanding the evolving consumer base and how they choose to spend their time outdoors is essential knowledge,” said Kent Ebersole, President of OIA. “The data in this report reveals invaluable insights so that our members can strategically grow their business and so that our industry can serve a broader audience of participants and make outdoor recreation even more accessible.”

For over 15 years, the Outdoor Participation Trends Report has served as the most trusted and comprehensive source of insights and narratives around who is doing what in the outdoors — as well as when and how. The Outdoor Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Outdoor Industry Association, funds the research that produces the annual Outdoor Participation Trends Report and publishes the findings in partnership with OIA every year.

“Our report highlights interesting shifts in who’s recreating in the outdoors. While we’re excited to see some increases in participation diversity, there is still more work to be done in order to keep pace with changes in the demographics of the U.S. population,” said Lesford Duncan, Executive Director of Outdoor Foundation. “The findings of this report is a clear call for our outdoor ecosystem, including outdoor industry and public sector efforts, to work together to increase participation by prioritizing representation and inclusion in design, marketing, programming, outreach, and advocacy.”

The 2024 report reflects data gathered during the 2023 calendar year. While the executive summary of the report is available to the public, the full report is available exclusively to OIA members and Outdoor Foundation partners.

 

About Outdoor Foundation 

The Outdoor Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Outdoor Industry Association, is a national 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to getting people outside for their health, the health of communities, and the health of the outdoor industry. Through community investment and groundbreaking research, the Outdoor Foundation works with partners across the country to address equity barriers and help make the outdoors accessible for all. Visit outdoorfoundation.org for more information.

 

About Outdoor Industry Association

Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is a catalyst for meaningful change. A member-based collective, OIA is a passionate group of business leaders, climate experts, policy makers and outdoor enthusiasts committed to sustainable economic growth and climate positivity while protecting – and growing access to – the benefits of the outdoors for everyone. For more than 30 years, OIA has catalyzed a thriving outdoor industry by supporting the success of every member company across four critically aligned areas: market research, sustainability, government affairs, and inclusive participation. OIA delivers success for its members through education, events, and business services in the form of solutions and strategies, consultation, collaboration, and opportunities for collective action. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org

Outdoor Foundation Unveils 2023 Annual Report Findings

BOULDER, CO (May 23rd, 2024) – The Outdoor Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Outdoor Industry Association, eagerly released its annual report today showcasing 2023 impact data and highlights from its national Thrive Outside Initiative and previewing participation research from the Outdoor Participation Trends Report.

Since the launch of the Thrive Outside Initiative in 2019, the Outdoor Foundation has helped to connect tens of thousands of youths and their families to the joy, wonder, and myriad benefits of the outdoors. In 2023, Thrive Outside Communities engaged over 95,000 participants through transformative experiences in the outdoors, diversifying outdoor participation through innovative, cross-sector partnerships and youth outdoor programming.

In 2023, the Outdoor Foundation continued its grantmaking to support multi-year investments in regional collective impact approaches across the country to connect children, youth, and families to the outdoors. Thrive Outside has helped build capacity of large and diverse coalitions (including nonprofit, school, health, social service, government, and philanthropic partners) with a shared vision to provide positive, healing, and equitable experiences for communities in the outdoors.

“We are thrilled to announce the publication of the Outdoor Foundation’s 2023 Annual Report. The report underscores the tremendous impact of our Thrive Outside Initiative, showcasing how our grantees’ collective efforts are transforming communities nationwide,” said Lesford Duncan, Executive Director of Outdoor Foundation.

Annual highlights from the national initiative include a series of new collaborative program models in Oklahoma City, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. where partnerships have been created between mental health providers (children’s hospitals, county mental health, and social service agencies) and outdoor nonprofit organizations to provide effective outdoor healing programs for youth struggling with mental and behavioral health issues.

Additionally, in areas like Detroit, Grand Rapids, St. Louis and the state of Maine, the Outdoor Foundation has supported the development of new outdoor gear programs and libraries so community members and organizations can access the necessary equipment and training needed to lead outdoor activities safely and effectively regardless of their resources.

On a broader scale, in 2023 the Foundation’s Thrive Outside networks have been at the forefront of the development and implementation of millions of dollars of new resources for outdoor programming.

From local community funds to statewide outdoor equity funds, each of these programs is centered around increasing equitable access to outdoor recreation and engaging underrepresented and historically excluded communities.

“Through strategic community investments and groundbreaking research, the Outdoor Foundation is breaking down barriers to outdoor access and increasing diverse participation in communities like never before,” said Duncan. “We are continually inspired by the countless stories of empowerment and connection that have emerged from our Thrive Outside Communities.”

To that end, participants served through the Foundation’s Thrive Outside Initiative in 2023 were approximately 70% Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), and its collective impact approach continues to drive community-led systems change that reduces barriers for those most marginalized.

Looking at the work ahead, the Outdoor Foundation continues to listen deeply to both the successes and needs of its Thrive Outside Communities, positioning the Foundation to respond nimbly and responsively. As the organization thinks strategically about expanding to new Thrive Outside regions, it continues to seek and adapt financial and technical resources to meet the gaps.

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our partners, donors, and dedicated team for their unwavering support. Together, we are blazing new trails and shaping a brighter future for outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship,” concluded Duncan.

The Outdoor Foundation’s work would not be possible without its partnership with Outdoor Industry Association and the generous support of its Leadership Partners; Amazon, Capitol One, Carhartt, L.L. Bean, Patagonia, REI, Thule, VF Corporation, Winnebago Industries, Wolverine Worldwide and countless others.

About Outdoor Foundation 

The Outdoor Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Outdoor Industry Association, is a national 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to getting people outside for their health, the health of communities, and the health of the outdoor industry. Through community investment and groundbreaking research, the Outdoor Foundation works with partners across the country to address equity barriers and help make the outdoors accessible for all. Visit outdoorfoundation.org for more information.

 

Outdoor Industry Association Announces Inspiring Education Lineup for Outdoor Retailer Summer 2024

BOULDER, CO (April 18, 2024) – A member-led collective and the outdoor industry’s catalyst for meaningful change, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) today announced its lineup of education sessions and connection opportunities at the Outdoor Retailer Summer show in Salt Lake City, Utah, June 17-19,  2024. The lineup will address critical and intersectional topics including market and consumer trends, sustainability, advocacy, and participation.

“Our education sessions at Outdoor Retailer reflect the industry’s most pressing issues, empowering businesses to apply expert guidance, proven solutions, and new skills to drive growth and catalyze positive change for the outdoor industry,” said OIA President Kent Ebersole. “From addressing inclusivity barriers in the outdoors and leveraging data for business success to innovating sustainable products and advocating for cost-saving trade policies, our team will provide attendees with the strategies and insights needed to lead their brands into the future of the outdoors.”

On day one of the show, OIA Research Director Kelly Davis and Circana experts will explore Outdoor Retail Sales Trends, revealing forecasted trends for the year ahead and strategies for specialty retailers to leverage retail sales data to make informed decisions and drive revenue growth. In How to Comply with Sustainability Standards, attendees will will learn how to navigate emerging regulations and compliance standards. During the session Circularity and its Future in the Outdoor Industry, attendees will gain a comprehensive understanding of circular business models, technologies, and legislative implications. They’ll also learn actionable ways to align their business strategy to inclusive growth in the session Stories From Community Leaders: What It Takes to Build Outdoor Access for All.

The following day, OIA will release its 2024 Outdoor Participation Trends Report and delve into the latest trends in outdoor recreation participation, covering who’s doing what, when, and how outdoors. In the session The Essentials of Advocacy: Navigating Your Path to Impact, experts will lead an in-depth exploration of the policy landscape, why it’s relevant to outdoor businesses, and how brands can drive change at scale. Workforce Trends for Emerging Brands will showcase innovative strategies that small and medium-sized businesses can utilize to recruit, retain, and engage their employees. During Sustainable Business Innovation: Collaborating to Protect the Planet, attendees will learn how outdoor brands are coming together to address sustainability challenges and protect the outdoor experience upon which we all depend. Designed specifically for those new to trade policy, the session Trade Policy 101: Demystifying Supply Chain and Customs Compliance will provide attendees with the insights and tools to successfully navigate the world of international trade, including supply chain logistics, customs regulations, and trade policy.

To view the complete lineup of OIA educational opportunities at this summer’s Outdoor Retailer show, visit OIA’s website. Interested attendees can register for the show here and join OIA to empower their businesses to lead the outdoor industry toward a sustainable and inclusive future.

About the Outdoor Industry Association

Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is a catalyst for meaningful change. A member-based collective, OIA is a passionate group of business leaders, climate experts, policymakers, and outdoor enthusiasts committed to sustainable economic growth and climate positivity while protecting – and growing access to – the benefits of the outdoors for everyone. For more than 30 years, OIA has catalyzed a thriving outdoor industry by supporting the success of every member company across four critically aligned areas: market research, sustainability, government affairs, and inclusive participation. OIA delivers success for its members through education, events, and business services in the form of solutions and strategies, consultation, collaboration, and opportunities for collective action. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org

 

Outdoor Industry Association Applauds GSP Reform Act Successfully Passing House Committee

The outdoor industry has been hit with $1.7 billion dollars in additional tariffs due to a lack of GSP renewal. OIA urges Congress to quickly pass this important legislation. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2024 – Following the successful House markup of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Reform Act (H.R. 7986), Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) extends its full support to this pivotal legislation introduced by House Ways & Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Adrian Smith. OIA recognizes this bill as a significant endorsement of American values, protection for U.S. workers, and a boon for domestic companies. OIA emphasizes the urgent need for Congressional action on this bill to support the trillion-dollar outdoor recreation economy.

The GSP Reform Act is essential for the continued growth of the outdoor recreation industry and the ability of companies to grow jobs in the U.S. The bill not only seeks to retroactively renew GSP through 2030 but also proposes significant reforms to fortify the program. These reforms are crucial for the outdoor companies, modernizing the program to ensure key products remain in the program and encouraging further movement of supply chains out of China.

“The Generalized System of Preferences Reform Act (H.R. 7986) represents a significant endorsement of American values and workers, and U.S.-based companies. Since the expiration of the GSP in 2020, the outdoor industry has endured the burden of approximately $1.7 billion in additional tariffs, stifling innovation, job growth, and creating offshore manufacturing disruptions. OIA and its members applaud Congressmen Smith and the House Ways and Means Committee on advancing this critical legislation and urge Congress to swiftly pass the bill to ensure the vitality of the one trillion-dollar U.S. outdoor recreation economy. said Kent Ebersole, President, Outdoor Industry Association. “OIA looks forward to working with our champions in Congress and the Administration to advance this landmark bill.”

Additionally, the GSP Reform Act incorporates new criteria aimed at upholding international human rights standards and fostering adherence to U.S. values among beneficiary countries. By introducing these measures, the legislation ensures that the GSP program serves as a tool for promoting democracy, good governance, and anti-corruption practices while safeguarding the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.

Included in the GSP Reform Act are updates to the Competitive Needs Limitation (CNL), which increases the dollar threshold and indexes that threshold to inflation, to improve the program’s usefulness to incentivize supply chain shifts out of China. CNL reform is crucial to the success of many outdoor businesses. In September of 2023, OIA Member Black Diamond testified before Congress in support of GSP and CNL reform. In Congressman Adrian Smith’s opening statement, he said, “We heard a concern from the outdoor product company Black Diamond, that outdated provisions on Competitive Needs Limitations could inhibit the usefulness of the GSP program to shift supply chains out of China. I am proud to say this bill includes much-needed reforms to GSP’s CNL provisions. Both Representatives Blake Moore (R-UT) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA) have been leaders in getting these important reforms included here today.”

The outdoor industry has long benefitted from the GSP program. GSP offers duty-free importation of goods from designated beneficiary countries, resulting in cost savings and a competitive edge for companies in the sector. Companies within the outdoor industry that utilize GSP can maintain quality and drive innovation in their products while fostering trade relations and growing U.S.-based jobs. GSP also indirectly promotes sustainable practices within supply chains, aligning with the industry’s commitment to environmental responsibility. However, with the lapse of the program in 2020, these benefits of the program have not been realized by the industry, and billions of dollars have been paid in duties, stifling innovation and hurting U.S. companies.

Outdoor Industry Association urges Congress to swiftly pass the GSP Reform Act, recognizing its critical role in revitalizing American values, promoting economic prosperity, and advancing the interests of U.S. workers and companies. This landmark legislation represents a pivotal moment in reaffirming America’s commitment to fair trade practices, sustainable development, and global leadership.

 

About the Outdoor Industry Association

Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is a catalyst for meaningful change. A member-based collective, OIA is a passionate group of business leaders, climate experts, policymakers, and outdoor enthusiasts committed to sustainable economic growth and climate positivity while protecting – and growing access to – the benefits of the outdoors for everyone. For more than 30 years, OIA has catalyzed a thriving outdoor industry by supporting the success of every member company across four critically aligned areas: market research, sustainability, government affairs, and inclusive participation. OIA delivers success for its members through education, events, and business services in the form of solutions and strategies, consultation, collaboration, and opportunities for collective action. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org

Outdoor Industry Association Celebrates EXPLORE Act Passing the House

Tuesday, April 9, 2024 – The House of Representatives has passed H.R. 6492, the Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences Act (EXPLORE) Act, in a significant move towards enhancing public land access and promoting outdoor recreation opportunities across the country. Introduced by House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and Ranking Member Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the EXPLORE Act is a bipartisan package of recreation bills that aim to address barriers to access for veterans, people with disabilities, and underserved populations, streamline permitting processes for guides and outfitters, and support and enhance recreation opportunities on our public lands. 

“We are thrilled to see Congress taking action to ensure each American has the opportunity to enjoy outdoor spaces in their own community, bolster economic growth, and advance mental and physical health benefits for all,” said Kent Ebersole, president of Outdoor Industry Association. “The outdoor recreation economy continues to soar to new levels, accounting for over $1 trillion in consumer spending and demonstrating participant growth for the eighth consecutive year. This is an important inflection point. We must modernize, preserve, and increase access to the public lands and waterways – regardless of where someone lives or works – and support more than five million employees who help drive our industry forward.”  

The EXPLORE Act is a companion bill to S.873, America’s Outdoor Recreation Act (AORA), which passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in May of 2023. AORA and EXPLORE represent the strong bicameral and bipartisan collaboration across chambers to advance policies supporting outdoor recreation. The passage of the EXPLORE Act through the House marks a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to enhance outdoor recreation opportunities, improve public land access, and support economic growth in rural communities. As the legislation advances further, bipartisan collaboration and stakeholder engagement will be essential in realizing its potential benefits for individuals, businesses, and the environment. 

Outdoor Industry Association Invites Brands to Join Finance and Business Operations Benchmarking Study 

Participating brands gain access to trusted insights to rise above the competition.

BOULDER, CO (April 4, 2024) – A member-led collective and the outdoor industry’s catalyst for meaningful change, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) today announced a new Outdoor Brand Benchmarking Study, which focuses on key finance and business operations benchmarks to help brands understand their position in the market compared to competitors and make informed decisions to drive growth and profitability.

Participants will receive the full results from the study in OIA’s Outdoor Brand Benchmarking Report, which includes:

  • Financial Performance: Key financial ratios and detailed indicators across Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow statements, such as revenue growth, profit margins, inventory turnover, and cash cycle.
  • Business Operations: Benchmarks focus on metrics such as SKU count, sales channel mix, marketing mix and ROI, sourcing mix, number of employees, and sales per employee.
  • Actionable Best Practices: Tailored strategies cover revenue and profit optimization, asset management, marketing and sales, sourcing and manufacturing, employee productivity, and innovation.
  • Targeted Insights: Groupings by company size and product line help pinpoint opportunities within specific industry segments and compared to top performers.

“In an evolving and dynamic market, it’s crucial to know where your business stands versus the competition. Participating in this study provides brands with the strategic intelligence needed to drive growth, efficiency, and profitability,” said Kent Ebersole, President of OIA. “Our report ensures decision-makers have access to relevant data for all major business functions so that they can gauge the effectiveness of business operations, set internal goals, and be an industry leader.”

Participating in the study is easy and secure. As the sole and trusted source for finance and business operations benchmarks in the outdoor industry, OIA ensures that information is held confidential and anonymized by third-party survey administrator Qualtrics. Entering company data is straightforward through a secure survey link and takes just 90 minutes to complete. Participants have the flexibility to pause and resume the survey at their convenience and share it within their organization for collaboration.

OIA invites brands to join the benchmarking study to access data worth tens of thousands of dollars, unavailable anywhere else, and position their brand for success. Brands do not have to be OIA members to participate. The deadline to complete the study is May 8th, and participation is free. Interested brands can learn more and sign up here.

About Outdoor Industry Association

Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is a catalyst for meaningful change. A member-based collective, OIA is a passionate group of business leaders, climate experts, policymakers, and outdoor enthusiasts committed to sustainable economic growth and climate positivity while protecting – and growing access to – the benefits of the outdoors for everyone. For more than 30 years, OIA has catalyzed a thriving outdoor industry by supporting the success of every member company across four critically aligned areas: market research, sustainability, government affairs, and inclusive participation. OIA delivers success for its members through education, events, and business services in the form of solutions and strategies, consultation, collaboration, and opportunities for collective action. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org.

New Report Finds Outdoor Market Down in 2023, Expanding Market for Casual Products Drives Changes in Sales Mix

BOULDER, CO (March 19, 2024)A member-led collective and the outdoor industry’s catalyst for meaningful change, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) today released key insights from its new 2024 Outdoor Retail Sales Trends Report. Produced in partnership with Circana, the leading advisor on the complexity of consumer behavior, the report details 2023 US retail sales trends in chain, e-commerce, and specialty channels across major outdoor product categories including apparel, footwear, accessories, and equipment.

 Key findings from the report include the following:

  • The market was down 3% to $27.5 billion in total outdoor retail sales 
  • All three retail channels experienced declines, with at least half of Independent Outdoor Specialty Retailers suffering a double-digit decline in dollars sold
  • Three of the four major product categories contracted (Apparel, Footwear, Equipment), while the Accessories category grew
  • New, more casual participants are changing the product mix in the outdoor market

“Overall, while the outdoor market faced challenges in 2023, there remains great opportunity for growth by understanding emerging market and consumer trends,” said Kent Ebersole, President of OIA. “Our new partnership with Circana provides our members with the turnkey access and insights needed to make informed decisions, adapt quickly to a changing landscape, and drive growth.”

“Circana is thrilled to partner with OIA on this valuable initiative giving association members streamlined access to a holistic, 360-degree view of outdoor market retail sales and trends,” said Michele Arnold, vice president of sports equipment at Circana. “With data collected directly from retailers and covering nearly 600 product categories, Circana is the leading provider of retail trends data to the outdoor market and beyond.” 

OIA’s new membership benefit equips industry brands with retail sales data at scalable levels to fit individual business needs, including monthly and annual access, along with exclusive insights, education, and training. Full membership benefits are detailed here.

To provide deeper analysis and insights, OIA will also host a free webinar on Thursday, March 21st, 2024 featuring industry experts and channel leaders as they discuss the dominant retail trends of 2023, forecasted trends for 2024, and strategies for success in the outdoor industry. Panelists include Travis Campbell, Owner and CEO of Eagle Creek, and Hy Rosario, Director of Outdoor at HOKA, as well as a presentation from Matthew Tucker, Director of Client Development for Circana.

Download the Executive Summary of the 2024 Outdoor Retail Sales Trends Report here.

About Outdoor Industry Association  

Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is a catalyst for meaningful change. A member-based collective, OIA is a passionate group of business leaders, climate experts, policy makers, and outdoor enthusiasts committed to sustainable economic growth and climate positivity while protecting – and growing access to – the benefits of the outdoors for everyone. For more than 30 years, OIA has catalyzed a thriving outdoor industry by supporting the success of every member company across four critically aligned areas: market research, sustainability, government affairs, and inclusive participation. OIA delivers success for its members through education, events, and business services in the form of solutions and strategies, consultation, collaboration, and opportunities for collective action. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org

About Circana

Circana is the leading advisor on the complexity of consumer behavior. Through unparalleled technology, advanced analytics, cross-industry data, and deep expertise, we provide clarity that helps almost 7,000 of the world’s leading brands and retailers take action and unlock business growth. We understand more about the complete consumer, the complete store, and the complete wallet so our clients can go beyond the data to apply insights, ignite innovation, meet consumer demand, and outpace the competition. Learn more at www.circana.com.

Media Contact: Chris Denny / Denny, ink. / 435-655-1609 / chris@dennyink.com

Outdoor Industry Praises Creation of Connecticut’s Office of Outdoor Recreation

BOULDER – Reports of a new Office of Outdoor Industry and Experiences in Connecticut today were praised by outdoor industry stakeholders across the country, including Outdoor Industry Association president, Kent Ebersole, who issued the following statement:

“From coast to coast, it is encouraging to see the growing number of states prioritizing their local outdoor recreation economies,” said Kent Ebersole, president of Outdoor Industry Association. “The reason for this momentum is simple: the outdoor recreation economy accounts for more than $1 trillion in consumer spending nationwide and supports more than five million hard-working employees and their families across the nation. Furthermore, the number of Americans who participate in the outdoors has increased to new heights for eight consecutive years, with over 56% of the population getting outside. We welcome the state of Connecticut to this movement and look forward to working with policymakers there to increase access to public lands and waterways, advance conservation efforts, and increase outdoor participation, so everyone can experience the benefits from spending time outdoors.”

Outdoor Foundation Announces Lesford Duncan as Executive Director

Duncan to reinforce Foundation’s mission of getting people outside for their health, the health of communities, and the health of the outdoor industry

BOULDER, CO (January 8th, 2024) –  Outdoor Foundation (OF), the philanthropic arm of Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), is proud to welcome Lesford Duncan, MPH, as its new Executive Director. Lesford joins the Foundation with over a decade of experience in public management in government and nonprofit sectors. A proven and collaborative leader in outdoor equity and youth development, he has leveraged philanthropy, nonprofit leadership, and programmatic best practices to promote the resilience and well-being of children, families, and communities. His previous roles include Senior Director of Programs and Associate Executive Director at Outdoor Outreach and most recently the Chief Executive Officer of the Greening Youth Foundation, the international nonprofit working to cultivate the next generation of diverse environmental leaders.

Throughout his career, Duncan has worked to lead and support coalitions and develop innovative programs addressing issues at the intersection of outdoor recreation, environmental justice, and health. He has led and collaborated on local, state, and federal public policy efforts to reduce barriers to outdoor access, advocate for equitable conservation and environmental justice, and promote the health and well-being of communities. He has also worked closely with the Outdoor Foundation over the past four years, supporting Thrive Outside Communities in San Diego and Atlanta, and serving as a board member of the Outdoor Foundation.

Through community grant-making and groundbreaking research, the Outdoor Foundation works with partners across the country to address equity barriers and help make the outdoors accessible for all. The Foundation’s Thrive Outside Community Initiative awards multi-year, capacity-building grants to diverse communities to create repeat and reinforcing positive outdoor experiences for children and families. The core goal of the Thrive Outside Community Initiative is to create healthy individuals, communities, and economies by making the outdoors a key component of daily life. 

“Lesford brings to this role an impressive track record of creating outdoor opportunities for children, youth, and families who have faced barriers to making the outdoors a part of their lives,” said Amy Dominguez-Arms, Outdoor Foundation Board Chair. “The board is excited to work with Lesford to expand our support for Thrive Outside Communities – where diverse civic leaders are mobilizing and coordinating resources to make meaningful outdoor experiences available to all. With Lesford at the helm, we look forward to capitalizing on our valuable partnership with OIA to magnify our impact in the years ahead.” 

“With the support of the Outdoor Foundation board and team, I am honored to lead the Foundation and to contribute to a mission that resonates deeply with me; fostering deep and sustained relationships between communities and nature, and cultivating a more inclusive outdoors where we all find joy, recreation, and well-being,” said Duncan. “Together, with the talented team at the Outdoor Foundation and our partners at OIA, we look forward to supporting collaborative and innovative efforts to increase outdoor access and promote community health through outdoor recreation.”

Duncan is an avid kayaker, ultramarathon runner, and mountaineer. Born to Jamaican parents who instilled in him the values of adventure, persistence, and curiosity, he is proud to have placed a small Jamaican flag at Mt. Everest Base Camp. The Outdoor Foundation looks to a promising future strengthening the multitude of networks that build accessibility and inclusivity in the outdoors with Duncan at the helm.

 

About Outdoor Foundation

The Outdoor Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Outdoor Industry Association, is a national 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to getting people outside for their health, the health of communities, and the health of the outdoor industry. Through community investment and groundbreaking research, the Outdoor Foundation works to create a more inclusive and accessible outdoor experience for all. Visit outdoorfoundation.org for more information.

About the Outdoor Industry Association

Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is a catalyst for meaningful change. A member-based collective, OIA is a passionate group of business leaders, climate experts, policymakers, and outdoor enthusiasts committed to sustainable economic growth and climate positivity while protecting – and growing access to – the benefits of the outdoors for everyone. For more than 30 years, OIA has catalyzed a thriving outdoor industry by supporting the success of every member company across four critically aligned areas: market research, sustainability, government affairs, and inclusive participation. OIA delivers success for its members through education, events, and business services in the form of solutions and strategies, consultation, collaboration, and opportunities for collective action. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org

Outdoor Industry Welcomes Introduction of EXPLORE Act

BOULDER, Colo. (November 29, 2023) – Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) President Kent Ebersole today released the following statement commending the introduction of the Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act in the U.S. House:

“We are thrilled to see Congress taking bipartisan action to ensure each American has the opportunity to enjoy outdoor spaces in their own community, bolster economic growth, and advance mental and physical health benefits for all, and thank House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Westerman and Ranking Member Grijalva for their leadership on this bill. The outdoor recreation economy continues to soar to new levels, accounting for over $1 trillion in consumer spending and demonstrating participant growth for the eighth consecutive year. This is an important inflection point. We must modernize, preserve, and increase access to the public lands and waterways – regardless of where someone lives or works – and support more than five million employees who help drive our industry forward.”

Since its initial introduction by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in 2021, OIA has also strongly advocated for the companion America’s Outdoor Recreation Act which aims to bring green spaces to more people and expand access to the great outdoors.

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About the Outdoor Industry Association

Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is a catalyst for meaningful change. A member-based collective, OIA is a passionate group of business leaders, climate experts, policy makers and outdoor enthusiasts committed to sustainable economic growth and climate positivity while protecting – and growing access to – the benefits of the outdoors for everyone. For more than 30 years, OIA has catalyzed a thriving outdoor industry by supporting the success of every member company across four critically aligned areas: market research, sustainability, government affairs, and inclusive participation. OIA delivers success for its members through education, events, and business services in the form of solutions and strategies, consultation, collaboration, and opportunities for collective action. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org.