Representatives from five Conservation Alliance and Outdoor Industry Association members met with Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) to voice their support for wilderness designations for backcountry areas in Rocky Mountain National Park. The meeting came as Senator Salazar and his colleague Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) are developing a proposal that would protect roughly 249,000 acres within the park as wilderness.

“We wanted to demonstrate to the Senator that wilderness benefits our businesses,” said Kenny Ballard, President of Kelty, Inc. and a Conservation Alliance board member. “Our customers need wild places where they can use the products we make and sell. No place is more worthy of protection than Rocky Mountain National Park.”

The wilderness proposal enjoys broad support from communities adjacent to the park, and from recreation groups including the International Mountain Biking Association and the Headwaters Trail Alliance.

“We got the sense from the Senator that, with such broad support, this proposal is likely to move this year,” said Len Zanni, co-owner of Big Agnes. “We are happy to add our outdoor business support to the effort.”

Joining Ballard and Zanni in the meeting were Paul Gagner, President of Sierra Designs, Brian Scranton, Director of Marketing for Chaco, Inc., and Amy Roberts, Director of Government Affairs for Outdoor Industry Association. Each participant represented a company or organization based in Colorado.

“Our customers and future outdoor enthusiasts depend on having access to pristine, protected wild places to play,” said OIA’s Roberts.

Prior to the meeting, The Conservation Alliance sent both Senators a letter signed by 18 member companies based in Colorado, urging them to protect Rocky Mountain National Park.

“Our members in Colorado feel strongly that this outdoor icon receive the permanent protection it richly deserves,” said John Sterling, Executive Director of The Conservation Alliance. “We know that wilderness has real economic value.”