Catch up on the top headlines from last week.

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Good news

  • The VF Foundation pledged an unprecedented $1 million to the Outdoor Foundation's core goal to invest in communities to help kids and families get outside. VF is joined by Patagonia and Thule, which have made significant multi-year pledges. In addition, REI has committed to a future investment. The support will be invested in innovative programs and with organizations in key "Thrive Outside Communities" to ensure that outdoor experiences become woven into the fabric of communities.
  • Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) presented the Together We Are a Force AwardsPOLICY: Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, Piragis Northwoods Company, MTI Adventurewear, and Patagonia; SUSTAINABILITY: The North Face, Allied Feather and Down, Textile Exchange, Control Union Certifications, and Downlite; and PARTICIPATION: The American Hiking Society, Teresa Baker of African American Nature & Parks Experience, Vasque, and Patagonia

Retailers and brands

Research

  • OIA debuted the first-ever sustainability benchmarking report, focusing on environmental, social, and sustainability impacts related to supply chains and product manufacturing.
  • Obstacle course racing has slowed in popularity since its boom in 2010, but a researcher found that participants in long-distance (more than 10 miles) races increased 39-fold between 2010 and 2017. She also found that male participation in long-distance OCRs increased 30-fold while female participation increased 45-fold.

Obituaries

  • Andrea Gabbard, the woman who paved the way for generations of outdoor gear writers, died earlier this month. Her passing was made public on Day 0 of Outdoor Retailer and her friends shared memories of her with us.

Politics

  • OIA also released the first-ever Congressional Scorecard of the Outdoor Recreation Industry as part of its Vote the Outdoors campaign. Voters can look up their elected representatives' grades and stances on public lands issues.

Moves and acquisitions

  • Exxel Outdoors, parent company of Sierra Designs, Kelty, Ultimate Direction, and Wenzel, have acquired Hex, a Los Angeles, CA-based backpack and accessories brand founded in 2010, according to SGB
  • Mammut acquired Mountain Hub, a digital outdoors platform, for an undisclosed amount, in a push to bolster the brand’s digital community, connection to consumers, and integration of technologies across platforms. Mountain Hub is based in Park City, Utah, and was founded by MIT graduate students in 2015 out of the desire to enhance the outdoors experience by crowdsourcing real-time trip reports, routes, and conditions that make the outdoors safer and more accessible for everyone.
  • Sea to Summit hired Andy Palmer to its North American executive team as its general manager.
  • TRUE Communications welcomed Garin Fons as account director. Fons most recently served as the brand manager of online retailer Competitive Cyclist. Prior to that, he was the marketing manager for Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop.

National Parks

  • Wildfires rage across the country, including near Yosemite, Yellowstone, Crater Lake, Sequoia, and Grand Canyon national parks, as well as Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.
  • Officials believe that a body found in Rocky Mountain National Park is that of a Colorado man who was reported missing earlier this month after failing to return from a day hike to Mount Meeker.

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