It’s no secret that some of the proposed changes by the Trump administration are leaving the outdoor industry infuriated. On October 19, the Outdoor Industry Association wrote a letter to the commander in chief calling upon him to protect our nation’s lands. More than 350 American companies signed this letter in hopes he would keep current protections for our land and water.
We talked with Alexander Boian, Vice President of Government Affairs and OIAPAC Treasurer for the Outdoor Industry Association and asked him some questions about this letter:
Q: What specific changes do you hope this letter achieves?
We hope this letter compels the president and his administration to pay more attention to the importance of protecting our nation’s public lands to the health of our economy, our communities, and the health of our citizens.
Specifically, we would like to see President Trump support our nation’s public lands rather than making decisions that will limit access and lower protections.
We want the president to be aware that the bipartisan Outdoor Industry is watching his decisions related to national monuments, the Antiquities Act, National Park Fees and other public land related issues and that the administration cannot simply gut public lands protections without a fight.
Q: Clearly the President has a lot on his plate. Is he listening or is this falling on deaf ears?
Anytime an entire industry writes a letter to the president, it's going to get noticed. We are only nine months into the president’s term and the Outdoor Industry has definitely made a dent in the President’s efforts to eliminate national monuments. The Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee wanted him to go much further and eliminate Utah’s monuments, but that is unlikely to be in the final announcement. That said, the president’s actions have coalesced, galvanized our industry. Protecting public lands, preserving our American heritage should never have been something we needed to fight for, but fight we must, and fight we will.
Q: A lot of people might think that their electric signature on a petition has no real weight. Does it?
Absolutely it does. The letter itself was signed by leaders from across the industries, many from well-recognized brands.
The outdoor industry and outdoor recreation community – members, merchants, consumers and many, many others came out in the millions against this administration’s threats against national monuments. Collectively, we produced these overwhelming numbers. This made a difference in that, to date, no monuments will be completely eliminated. It’s a small win, but a win nonetheless.
The total comments on Regulations.gov about the monuments getting reduced was the largest with 2.8 million. And 98% were in favor of keeping the monuments. These numbers can’t be ignored.
Q: What feedback have you received so far?
We had off the charts feedback on social media from members, supporters, others with many people asking what can I do to fight back and stand with you? In general though, the outdoor industry is extremely motivated to protect the public lands we all enjoy. This was our largest letter yet so I think that shows that outdoor businesses prioritized fighting to protect the places that are the backbone of the outdoor recreation economy, and they are willing to sign on to continue the drumbeat that the protection of public lands matters to our industry, America’s long legacy of protecting our land, and speaks to the soul of the nation.