Outdoor Industry Association 2016 Annual Report

Together We Are a Force

A Letter From Our Board Chair

Just one year ago, our vision for 2016 included an ambitious and comprehensive strategic planning process. We hoped to research, assess and evolve the areas in which OIA could provide the greatest positive impact to our members and to the broader outdoor recreation economy. Through a series of broad and candid member conversations, surveys and subsequent analysis and collaborative discussions, we learned what you expect from a membership organization, what you feel is most valuable about your OIA membership and where we can improve.

Your responses made it clear you want Outdoor Industry Association to

  • Convene the industry to share ideas, set collective goals and strengthen our resolve as a unified community.
  • Advocate on the local and federal levels for smart recreation and trade policy that will help our businesses to thrive and outdoorists to flourish.
  • Conduct research to understand our customers, marketplace and economic impact.
  • Lead the world in sustainable supply chain innovation and action.
  • Grow the numbers and diversity of participants in our activities and thus the size and health of our business community.

Beginning last year and carrying into 2017 and beyond, our work will focus on three pillar areas: policy, outdoor participation and sustainable business practices. As such, we have unveiled the Together We Are a Force campaign that celebrates our industry’s collaboration and supports our pillar work to serve our membership and the outdoor industry. This coming year will be one of impressive progress based on the foundation built in 2016 with the release of a new Recreation Economy Report, the unveiling of an evolved tradeshow vision to remain relevant and cohesive for the future, accelerated adoption of the Higg Index and the continued strengthening and importance of our industry voice in local and federal public policy. As my time as board chair comes to a close, I am more excited and optimistic than ever about OIA’s commitment to harnessing the industry’s collective voice, knowledge and advocacy efforts. Together, we will amplify our message and grow outdoor recreation. Together We Are A Force.


Gordon Seabury
Gordon Seabury
OIA Board Chair
Toad&Co, CEO

Nicole Bassett, Gordon Seabury and Jeff Denby

From Left: Nicole Bassett, co-founder, The Renewal Workshop, Gordon Seabury, CEO, Toad&Co and Jeff Denby, co-founder, The Renewal Workshop.

Toad&Co and The Renewal Workshop work together to ensure that no clothing unnecessarily ends up in a landfill. Read more about their story.

Together We Are a Force

In 2016, we sharpened our focus. We recommitted to our role as a convener and catalyst for the industry in order to move the needle in policy, sustainable business innovation and outdoor participation. When we act, advocate and innovate collaboratively, we are a force for exponential change well into the future.


Policy Icon Policy

Local, state and national advocacy efforts to ensure balanced trade and outdoor recreation access for all.

Leaf Icon Sustainable Business Innovation

Asking questions, solving problems and empowering companies to build better products with fewer impacts on the environment.

Boot Icon Outdoor Participation

Activating the next generation of responsible and passionate outdoorists.

Binoculars Icon The Future

Investing in the bright minds and passionate change-makers who are poised to take this industry to the next frontier.


We know well the challenges—shrinking funding for and efforts to sell off public lands, tariffs that make our products more costly and too many people who don’t have access to a park or trail.

Our team of policy advisors and our committed membership made huge strides in overcoming those challenges.

In 2016

The REC Act

This monumental legislation requires the federal government to measure the size and impact of the outdoor recreation economy as part of the gross domestic product (GDP).

  • Bipartisan bill
  • Unanimous congressional support
  • Signed into law by President Obama


The Obamas traveled to Yosemite to celebrate the National Park Centennial. While there, the president recognized the power and impact of the outdoor recreation industry. His visit led to

  • 4.6 million social media impressions
  • A White House Instagram takeover by outdoor athletes and influencers
  • Stats heard ’round the world: powerful recognition by President Obama of our 6 million jobs and $646 billion impact, according to our 2012 Outdoor Recreation Economy report. Our new Outdoor Recreation Economy report shows the industry supports 7.6 million jobs and has an $887 billion impact.


We Thought Locally in 3 States

State Offices of Outdoor Recreation

Inviting appointed outdoor industry advocates to conversations about land use, access, public health and economic development is a growing trend that we’ve endorsed.

  • Now in three states, with several more proposed or in legislation
  • High-level cabinet, department or advisory positions that give outdoor industry a seat at the table with policymakers
  • Instrumental in supporting and growing close-to-home recreation infrastructure
We Marched on Washington

Capitol Summit

Our premiere advocacy event in Washington, D.C., brings industry executives from across the country to educate their elected officials in Congress on key issues impacting their businesses.

  • 78 OIA members, including 23 first-time attendees, had 69 meetings with elected officials and/or high-level staff and the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Agriculture and White House Council on Environmental Quality
  • Four asks included the REC Act, the Centennial Act, RAMPARTS and TPP
  • Awarded Friend of the Outdoor Industry awards to President Barack Obama, Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Representative Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) for their work to make sure the outdoor industry’s interests and values are reflected in Washington, D.C.


We Sent Friends to Congress With the OIAPAC

Election 2016

Despite an unexpected outcome in the presidential race, OIA celebrated some exciting milestones and successes in 2016:

  • Outdoor recreation economy and public lands were campaign issues for first time ever
  • OIA endorsed local candidates for the first time
  • Voters approved $60 billion to support parks and conservation
  • Majority of the 20 OIA-endorsed candidates won their races

Listen as the OIA's government affairs team takes you through what the 2016 election results mean for the outdoor industry.

We Got Geeky With Recreation Economy Data

In 2016, we dove into research to understand the impact of the outdoor recreation industry. The result? The Outdoor Recreation Economy report that quantifies and explains the impact of our industry’s $887 billion in consumer spending and 7.6 million American jobs.

The Outdoor Recreation Economy

David Leinweber & John Hickenlooper

From Left: David Leinweber, owner of Angler's Covey and John Hickenlooper, Governor of the State of Colorado

Governor John Hickenlooper works with fly fishing guide and shop owner David Leinweber and other local outdoor industury retailers and manufacturers to ensure a healthy recreation economy in Colorado. Read more about their story.


Facing Vermont’s Inconvenient Truth

Despite a well-branded image as a four-season playground for active outdoorists, the state’s outdoor industry has atrophied in recent years. Two local business leaders are trying to change that, and they’re getting some traction.



Sustainable business means creating a viable business model that is resilient and able to thrive in a changing world. It also means incorporating supply chain practices that consider the impact on the environment and on people.

In 2016, we focused on taking companies from supply chain assessment to action. OIA’s sustainable business innovation team and the OIA Sustainability Working Group, which have helped our industry become a national leader in this area by developing eco indexes, shifted their focus to industry-wide implementation via a sustainable business challenge and subsequent public benchmarking to show that outdoor companies can lead other industries in putting these sustainability practices and tools to use.

In 2016

Valerie Presolly and Vik Sahney

From Left: Valerie Presolly, Director of Sustainable Business Innovation, MEC and Vik Sahney, Divisional VP of Sustainability, REI

Vik leads REI’s sustainability efforts. Valerie does the same thing up north at MEC. What else do they have in common? Read more about their story.

Sustainable Business Innovation

We previously used the name corporate responsibility for this department, but we changed the name to sustainable business innovation to better align with the terminology that’s used throughout the industry and the media.

The Higg Index

The indicator-based assessment tool helps companies think through the questions they will need to answer in order to optimize their brands, products and supply chain practices, increasing efficiency, mitigating risk and highlighting opportunities for innovation.

  • 54 companies signed the Higg Index adoption commitment
  • 115 companies registered for higg.org accounts, giving them access to the tool from which they can begin the process of evaluating their supply chains
  • 65 companies posted their 2015 brand or facility modules
Higgins the Goat

Sustainability Toolkit

Recognizing that sustainability is a new and uncharted venture for many companies, these resources offer guidance, no matter where your company is on the journey to sustainability.

We Filed a Few Briefs

Priority Briefs

We created helpful resources on priority issues that affect sustainable business, including the following:

Sustainability Insights Conference

Each year, we convene the industry on key topics and hear from industry experts about the latest issues affecting our business. In 2016, the theme of the event was “Building the Movement."

  • Bryan Welch from B The Change Media delivered a keynote address titled “Telling the Sustainability Story: Creating change through content.”
  • Dr. Stephanie Bertels, an expert on corporate sustainability, discussed embedding sustainability.
  • Megan Shuknecht of Biomimicry Institute talked about learning from nature using structure to change functions.
  • Other topics covered during the meetings included chemicals management, responsible sourcing, product end of life, the phase-out of DWR treatments, the Responsible Wool Standard, microfibers and, of course, Higg Index adoption.
We Shredded the 'Nar...Webinar


Monthly Sustainability Working Group calls and webinars help industry sustainability professionals get up to speed on the latest challenges and opportunities in supply chain management.


Protecting Outdoorists From Fires and Fire Retardants

Find out how the outdoor industry is leading efforts to research, reduce and eliminate potentially harmful flame-retardant chemicals and the antiquated fire-safety regulations that put them into play more than 30 years ago.



Activating a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts and consumers is one of the most pressing issues facing the outdoor industry today. To ensure our industry’s future, we must energize a new audience. As the philanthropic arm of OIA, the Outdoor Foundation team works to ensure our nation’s and our industry's future health by investing in community and campus programs to inspire and grow future generations of outdoor enthusiasts.

In 2016

Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge Logo

Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge

In 2016, the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts and stewards were activated during Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge. School communities worked to build a stronger outdoor campus community and culture.

  • Expanded from 57 colleges and universities in 2015 to 89 in 2016, with 16,500 individuals competing and logging a total of 123,000 outdoor activities
  • Participants spent and estimated 138,683 hours outside
  • We invested in Big Adventures for youngsters Parks4Kids

Parks4Kids Logo


In celebration of the National Park Centennial and to support the Every Kid in a Park program, we raised funds to connect kids to parks.

  • OIA Members and individual donations totaled $75,000 have funded 42 projects and provided 22,795 students around the country meaningful experiences outdoors
  • Piloted Parks4Kids programs in Washington, DC 4th Graders to visit a National Park and supported thousands of San Diego youth’s
  • Two distinct fundraising campaigns included:
We Partied for a Purpose

Outsiders Ball Logo

Outsiders Ball

Each summer at Outdoor Retailer, we gather to party with our outdoor community and raise funds that help finance projects that engage children and young adults in outdoor programing around the country.

  • 1,050 attendees
  • $210,000 raised
  • 38 company sponsors
  • 30,000 young Outdoorists impacted

Outdoor Foundation


One for the nation’s largest funders of outdoor recreation, Outdoor Foundation invested in effective, sustainable, local projects that expand outdoor participation to a diverse, new audience.

In 2016, Outdoor Foundation:

  • Funded 296 projects totaling $1.4 million
  • Granted and administered giving programs that resulted in 96,797 young people outside

Each year, the Outdoor Foundation produces the Outdoor Participation Report — the largest, most comprehensive research report on outdoor recreation participation. The report examines more than 40 outdoor activities in America and provides insights and analysis on geographic and demographic trends, motivations and barriers as well as purchasing behaviors.

Beaver Theodosakis, Ella, Ella and Emme

Beaver Theodosakis, Founder, Prana and three 4th graders, Ella, Ella and Emme

As an Outdoor Foundation board member, Beaver dedicates time and funds to getting young outdoorists outside. Read more about their story.

Rue Mapp and Jerry Stritzke

Rue Mapp, Founder & CEO — Outdoor Afro and Jerry Stritzke, CEO — REI

Rue and Jerry believe that the growth of the outdoor industry is tied to the inclusion of all people and communities. Read more about their story. 


The Best “First Job” in the Outdoor Industry

Find out why these outdoorist teens are lining up to do 10 hours of heavy physical labor a day and why you’ll thank them—and Mountain Khakis and Marmot—later.



We are investing in our collective future by educating and empowering emerging leaders with the knowledge, skills and training needed to guide our industry, brands and retail businesses.

Likewise, our research team is helping to educate and inform our members about the changing consumer landscape, product and commerce trends and sometimes hard-to-quantify macro-shifts that affect our business.

In 2016

Craig Smitty Smith & Peter Duke

From Left: Amy Beck, Mentor, Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy and Molly Labonte, Graduate, Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy, Director of Sales, Timbuk2

Molly applied to be a Skip Yowell Future Leader for professional development, advocacy education and most importantly mentoring from industry sages like Amy. Read more about their story.

Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy

The nine-month program was named in honor of one of OIA’s founders and is dedicated to preparing and uniting the future leadership of the outdoor industry.

  • 20 outstanding future leaders were selected from more than 200 applicants.
  • The program included several overnight retreats, weekly online meetings and webinars, small-group capstone project.
  • At the end of the program, the participants founded the alumni network, which aims to provide support and guidance to future classes while maintaining the strong ties that were formed during the year.

Skip Yowell

Co-founder of OIA, Founder of Jansport Skip Yowell

We Introduced the Industry to Its Segmented Reality


A redesigned online platform that provides easier access to the tools and resources members and businesses need to understand today’s changing outdoor consumer landscape.

  • 38 unique resources released throughout 2016, including a 2020 Forecasting report, 16 infographics and segment-specific activation guides


Our annual gathering of industry professionals was held in the Mile High City in 2016. The conference featured:

  • A keynote address from Colorado Governor Hickenlooper and former Senator Mark Udall
  • Three education tracks that covered the topics of community, collaboration and conversation
Rendezvous Service Project
We Looked Into Our ConsumerVue Crystal Ball

2020 Forecasting Report

We looked into our ConsumerVue data crystal ball to identify the impact that five key macro-shifts will continue to have on the outdoor industry consumer segments as we look toward 2020.

ConsumerVue 2020 Forecast Report


Hatching the Next Great Idea

What will the future of the outdoor industry hold? That might be for these outdoor visionaries to decide.



OIA: An association of outdoorists, by outdoorists and for outdoorists. That is an apt way to describe Outdoor Industry Association. Our singular mission is to catalyze change—from the inside—that will advance the reach and impact of outdoor recreation.

By supporting outdoor retailers, manufacturers, suppliers and associate partners, such as public relations firms, law firms, insurance agencies and shipping companies, with tools and resources that help them connect with one another and streamline their businesses, we are ensuring the vitality of outdoor recreation. 

In 2016

We Added More Business Savings

In late 2016, we began broadening our network of vendor partners to increase how much OIA members can save on everyday business expenses. Members can now get discounts on everything from marketing services to sustainable supply chain tools to deals on hotels and car rentals. Learn more here.

We Hired More Experts and Innovators

Meet Our New Team Members

Meshja Carpenter, Office Administrator and Receptionist


Amanda Markert, Social Media Coordinator


Brian Collins, Business Systems Manager


Membership Heat Map


A group of 31 full-time employees in Colorado and Washington, D.C., who live and breathe the outdoorist ethos, we are fully committed to working together to help our members grow their individual businesses and the outdoor recreation industry. 



OIA Staff


Your membership matters. Thanks to your involvement and action, we are able to continue moving the needle on issues that are important to outdoor recreation and the outdoor industry. Your membership dues, event registrations, sponsorships and other financial contributions help support the work that we do on your behalf for public policy, sustainability and increasing outdoor participation. Thank you for being a part of the change. Together We Are a Force.

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