Executives from more than 350 outdoor businesses representing the $887 billion recreation economy—that has emerged as one of our nation’s largest economic drivers—have jointly submitted a letter to United States Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke asking him to protect national monuments and public lands that are critical infrastructure for their businesses and used by their customers for activities ranging from hiking to hunting and camping to off-roading.
The letter is an unprecedented display of unity among a diverse set of business executives in the outdoor gear, apparel, footwear, equipment, retail and services industries. The letter calls on Secretary Zinke to maintain the national treasures that past presidents of both parties have protected, to defend the integrity of the monument-making process and to provide certainty that these places remain accessible for all Americans—sustaining healthy communities, a healthy economy and good-paying, American jobs.
“Hundreds of entrepreneurial businesses from communities all across America have appealed to Secretary Zinke to maintain protections for our national monuments. It’s an unmistakable signal from a vibrant industry that keeps Americans happier and healthier and employs millions,” said Jerry Stritzke, CEO of REI. “REI and our 16 million members are proud defenders of the American right to roam our public lands. We urge the secretary to listen to his instincts and do the right thing in his recommendation next week.”
“Protection of our public lands allows U.S. outdoor businesses to thrive and provide the foundation for millions of jobs across our industry,” said Arne Arens, president of The North Face. “The experiences we all have in these monuments, parks and other public lands simply cannot be exported or commoditized. We want these monument designations protected for generations.”
The health of the outdoor industry and outdoor pursuits could face uncertainty if Secretary Zinke recommends removing or altering existing national monuments .This potential action and the risks associated with it compelled these companies to stand together to protect access to public lands and waters and maintain the outdoor industry’s economic strength.
These 350-plus businesses are diverse in size and location, ranging from Main Street retailers to Fortune 500 companies. Signatories include Adidas Outdoors, Burton, L.L.Bean, Orvis, The North Face, REI and YETI, all of which represent the $887 billion outdoor industry that supports 7.6 million American jobs and that relies on iconic outdoor places and experiences that our national monuments and public lands provide. If national monuments are removed or altered under Secretary Zinke’s recommendations, these businesses could face significant impacts in jobs in the immediate and long-term future, and a new precedent will be set for future presidents to revisit past national monument declarations, potentially impacting rural and urban communities.
To see the letter and signatories click here.
About Outdoor Industry Association
Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. Outdoor Industry Association unites and serves over 1,200 manufacturer, supplier, sales representative and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business innovation and outdoor participation. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org.
About REI REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of more than 16 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 147 stores in 36 states. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI.com/REI-Garage or the free REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. You can take the trip of a lifetime with REI Adventures, a global leader in active adventure travel that runs 170 custom-designed itineraries on every continent. REI’s Outdoor School is run by professionally trained, expert instructors who teach beginner- to advanced-level courses about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to–and steward–the outdoor places that inspire us.
About The North Face®
The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1966 with the goal of preparing outdoor athletes for the rigors of their next adventure. Today we are the world’s leading outdoor brand, creating athlete-tested, expedition-proven products that help people explore and test the limits of human potential. We protect our outdoor playgrounds and minimize our impact on the planet through programs that encourage sustainability. The North Face products are available at premium and specialty retail sporting goods stores globally and we are headquartered in California on a LEED Platinum-certified campus. For more information, please visit www.thenorthface.com.
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