The Conservation Alliance Board Calls on the President and Congress to Protect Public Land

Kirsten Blackburn, John Sterling, Adam Cramer, Hans Cole, Linda Balfour

The Conservation Alliance made a trip to Washington, DC last week to push Congress and the Obama Administration for new land and water protections that benefit outdoor recreation. We focused our efforts on securing new national monuments from the President, and on a package of public lands bills from the Congress. Our delegation included representatives from Patagonia, KEEN, Superfeet, REI, Outdoor Industry Association, and Outdoor Alliance.
As we near the end of President Obama’s final term, it is important that we do everything possible to secure new national monument designations. The Conservation Alliance has funded campaigns to protect the Bears Ears in Utah, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, the Grand Canyon Watershed in Arizona, Gold Butte in Nevada, the Owyhee Canyonlands in Oregon, and Birthplace of Rivers in West Virginia. We also endorse expanding the existing Cascade-Siskiyou and California Coast National Monuments in Oregon and California. In meetings with Obama Administration representatives, we delivered a letter signed by 68 member companies supporting the Bears Ears proposal.  Read the complete trip report on our blog.
We also worked closely with Outdoor Industry Association and Outdoor Alliance to develop a list of eight bills that we would like to see Congress move this year. This package of bills would protect lands and waters in Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, and Tennessee. We chose bills that face little or no opposition, and have already had at least one Congressional hearing. It is unclear from our meetings whether the Congress will try to move a package of lands bills before they adjourn later this year, but these bills would be a nice investment in conservation that benefits outdoor recreation.
Our trip coincided with the grand opening of the new REI Flagship store in Washington, DC. Our friends at REI hosted a vibrant party to show off their beautiful new store, and to talk about the company’s commitment to the greater Washington community.
This trip is likely our final visit to Washington during the Obama Administration. It has been an honor to represent our member companies in urging the federal government to manage our public lands for conservation and recreation. After the election, we will begin to build relationships with the incoming administration to ensure that public land protection continues to be a priority over the next for years, and beyond!