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        Sign on Letter: Supporting the Outdoor Recreation Economy and Recovery

        May 11, 2020

        The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
        Speaker, United States House of Representatives
        1236 Longworth House Office Building
        Washington, D.C. 20515

        The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
        Minority Leader, United States House of Representatives
        2468 Rayburn House Office Building
        Washington, D.C. 20515

        The Honorable Mitch McConnell
        Majority Leader, United States Senate
        317 Russell Senate Office Building

        The Honorable Charles Schumer
        Minority Leader, United States Senate
        322 Hart Senate Office Building
        Washington, D.C. 20510

        Re: Supporting the outdoor recreation economy and recovery of individuals, communities, and outdoor companies in any upcoming pandemic response legislation

        Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leaders McCarthy, McConnell and Schumer:

        Our outdoor recreation economy generates $887 billion in consumer spending and 7.6 million jobs annually. The outdoor industry comprises 2.2 percent of the United States GDP and, prior to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, was growing faster than the economy. In addition, communities with access to outdoor recreation assets like trails, waterways, and parks of all types are attracting and retaining business investments, as more and more businesses rely on quality of life to attract employees.

        Our system of parks and public lands being open for public use is critical for small and large retailers and outdoor businesses, along with the supply chain that serves them. Plus, these natural places bring quality of life to communities across the nation. Every part of this system has been interrupted by COVID-19, impacting the health and wellness of individuals, companies, and communities.

        Outdoor Industry Association and our 1,300 member companies write to ask for your support for including provisions that will aid economic recovery for the outdoor industry and communities across the country in any upcoming rounds of pandemic economic response legislation.

        Thank you for the actions you have already taken to support these businesses through the CARES Act. Many of our members were able to access CARES programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program that bought them some badly needed time, but their fates hinge in large part on the ability of their current and potential customers to get back outside.

        As we look to recovery in the months ahead, more needs to be done to help our communities and the outdoor industry recover from the current economic shock through investments in recreation infrastructure which will provide more opportunities for all Americans to get outside. The last few weeks have shown that millions of Americans depend upon outdoor recreation opportunities for health and wellness. Now more than ever, we need the mental and physical health benefits that getting outside can provide. Investing in outdoor infrastructure as part of our economic recovery efforts will provide a powerful return for all Americans.

        Specifically, we would like your support for the following:

        Permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and funding for the maintenance backlog across federal public lands: Pass the Great American Outdoors Act, which would finalize bipartisan and bicameral legislation that provides dedicated funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund and resources to reduce the maintenance backlog on our public lands.?This funding will have a long-term economic impact and will increase the visitor experience – a needed benefit for local tourism. Investing in LWCF has proven to double its investment in local economies and create thousands of jobs. Congress was close to passing this legislation due to extraordinarily broad bipartisan support. It makes even more sense now, with the public demand for outdoor recreation during the pandemic and with the economic, social, and health benefits that recreating outdoors provides.

        Include permit streamlining: We support incorporating the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act (H.R. 787/S.1665) and the Recreation Not Red-Tape Act (H.R. 3458/S. 1967) into any legislative stimulus package. Streamlining the federal permitting system is important to the health of the guiding and outfitting communities, which have been financially harmed by the ongoing pandemic. These bills would provide more access to outdoor recreation for millions of Americans who annually enjoy the outdoors via guided adventures.?By reducing current regulatory red tape, guides and outfitters will more easily kick-start local tourism once Americans are able to access public lands.

        Fund active transportation:?We appreciate your commitment to infrastructure as an economic growth opportunity and, in doing so, would encourage you to include provisions that would increase funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.?This type of funding helps local economies and provides people with safe, environmentally sensitive, and low-cost forms of transportation and recreation.?We support the Transportation Alternatives Program and the Recreational Trails Program (among others) and are hopeful that any additional infrastructure funding would significantly increase funding levels for these important economic drivers.

        Increased funding/expansion of Civilian Conservation Corps: Additional funding for expansion of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) will provide a combination of jobs for Americans and restoration and stewardship of our public lands.?The program could be further expanded to reach more youth and more outdoor places and to include opportunities on state lands. This program could immediately be brought to scale to meet the needs of recently unemployed workers from various affected industries.?The CCC could be rapidly deployed via existing cooperative agreements with federal agencies and state and local agencies.

        Funding to states and local municipalities for building parks, trails, and other outdoor recreation amenities in underserved and under-resourced communities: Local and state tax revenues are significantly declining, yet the public needs local services. With the need to recreate close to home for health and wellness, the majority of Americans need access to parks, trails, and open spaces within a 10-minute walk or drive of their homes. This type of program is badly needed to help address the current inequities surrounding those who live near and reap the benefits of outdoor recreation, trail, and natural areas – and those who do not.

        Prioritize policies to reduce carbon emissions: In consideration of transportation, energy, and infrastructure provisions, we would encourage you to use the opportunity to ensure policies are in place to reduce carbon emissions. Our industry relies on a healthy environment for those who love the outdoors to experience it to the fullest. Green infrastructure solutions not only sequester carbon and help mitigate the worst impacts of future natural disasters but also serve as places to recreate. We ask that you take a long-term view and work to ensure stewardship of our lands and oceans for future generations to enjoy.

        As Congress moves forward with response and helping with the recovery from the ongoing pandemic and its economic impacts, we ask that you consider the critical role our public lands and the opportunities for outdoor recreation play in our country’s recovery. Together, we can help make a meaningful contribution to pandemic recovery efforts.

        Sincerely,

        Lise Aangeenbrug
        Executive Director
        Outdoor Industry Association

        Michael West
        CEO
        686 Technical Apparel Co.

        Matt Wade
        Advocacy & Policy Director
        American Mountain Guides Association

        Chris Valiante
        Owner
        22 Designs

        Clay Haller
        President
        Advanced Elements, Inc.

        Penn Newhard
        Founder/Partner
        Backbone Media

        Tim Koehler
        Chief Financial Officer
        Backpacker’s Pantry

        Tag Kleiner
        VP of Marketing
        Far Bank Enterprises
        (Sage, Redington, RIO Products, Fly Water Travel)

        Craig Mackey
        Principal
        Mackey Partners, LLC

        Bill Gamber
        President and Co-Founder
        Big Agnes

        David Koorits
        Co-Founder
        Good To-Go

        Matthew McClain
        Executive Director
        Mammoth Lakes Recreation

        Brad Werntz
        President
        Boulders Climbing Gym

        Matt Holmes
        Executive Director
        Groundwork Richmond

        John Wentworth
        CEO/Board President
        Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access Foundation

        Jenn Swain
        Global Senior Sustainability Manager
        Burton

        Larry Witt
        President of Housewares (Hydro Flask & OXO)
        Helen of Troy

        David Dragoo
        Founder
        Mayfly Outdoors

        Ali Kenney
        SVP – Global Strategy & Insights
        Burton

        Alyssa Ravasio
        Founder & CEO
        Hipcamp

        Bob Mignogna
        President
        Mignogna Consulting, Inc.

        Matt Lyon
        Board Chair
        California Outdoor Recreation Partnership

        John Kirk
        Director of Communications
        International Sportsmen’s Expos

        Cam Brensinger
        CEO & Founder
        NEMO Equipment, Inc.

        Peter Bragdon
        Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel
        Columbia

        Jeff Turner
        Director of Sales
        Kokatat, Inc.

        Chris McKleroy
        CEO
        Nocs Provisions

        David Feinman
        Government Affairs Director
        Conservation Lands Foundation

        Rhonda Swenson
        CEO
        Krimson Klover

        Drew Saunders
        Country Manager
        Oberalp North America

        Coral Darby
        Founder
        Darby Communications

        Shawn Gorman
        Executive Chairman
        L.L.Bean

        Chris Rischke
        Director of Operations
        Oboz Footwear

        Jennifer Pelkey
        Sr. Marketing Director
        Outdoor Retailer

        Brian Cox
        President
        Lightspeed Outdoors

        Louis Geltman
        Policy Director
        Outdoor Alliance

        Rose Marcario
        President and CEO
        Patagonia

        Nick Sargent
        President
        Snowsports Industries America

        Fred Ferguson
        VP, Public Affairs and Communications
        Vista Outdoor

        Jenn Dice
        Chief Operating Officer
        PeopleForBikes

        Jennifer Savage
        California Policy Manager
        Surfrider Foundation

        Ashley Korenblat
        CEO
        Western Spirit Cycling

        Tom Adams
        COO
        Petzel America

        Michael Stewart
        Founder/Director of Partnerships
        Sustainable Surf

        Todd Walton
        Executive Director
        Winter Wildlands Alliance

        Eric Artz
        President and CEO
        REI Co-op

        David Polivy
        CEO
        Tahoe Mountain Sports

        Ryan Martin
        CEO
        Yakima Products, Inc.

        Wendy M. Carey
        VP/CFO
        Seirus Innovative Accessories, Inc.

        Brady Robinson
        Executive Director
        The Conservation Alliance

        Craig Flax
        Founder/President
        Youth Transportation Organization (Yoots)

        Steven Frisch
        President
        Sierra Business Council

        Arne Arens
        Brand President
        The North Face

        Steven Frisch
        President
        Sierra Business Council

        Gordon Seabury
        CEO
        Toad&Co

        Tony Post
        CEO & Founder
        Topo Athletic

        Ben Christensen
        Vice President, Operations
        Simms Fishing Products

        Brian Vargo
        President/CEO
        Vargo Outdoors, Inc.

        Ben Warner
        President
        Skeleton Key Agency/Coast Film Festival

        Steve Rendle
        Chairman, President and CEO
        VF Corp

        Seraph White
        Interim Executive Director
        Outdoors Empowered Network

        Kristin Hostetter
        Editor In Chief
        SNEWS | The Voice

        Jon Jay
        Digital Content Editor
        SKI Magazine

        Tori Peglar
        Co-Brand and Content Director
        National Parks Trips

        Andrea Kupfer
        VP, Managing Director
        Catapult Creative Labs

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