SNEWS best outdoor reads from around the web

The SNEWS team loves to read. And we’re putting together a list of a few articles and blog posts we’ve found this week that caught our attention. In case you missed them, this week’s selections include a story about Discovery Channel nixing Bear Grylls’ contract and how we can climb Everest vicariously through a blog. Check them out!
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What did the SNEWS team learn this week that other outdoor industry insiders might find interesting? Well, read on to find out.

  • Florida retailers, gear up (or get your customers geared up) because according to this story in the Beaches Leader, outdoor recreation is important to Florida’s residents. Results from the Department of Environmental Protections Florida Park Services’ 2011 Florida Outdoor Recreation Participation Survey found that outdoor activities were important to 96 percent of residents, and 98 percent of tourists (heck, gear those tourists up, too. You know they forgot stuff). The top activities included beach sports, fishing, bicycling and picnicking.
  • We all know New Mexico is dry. It’s a desert for goodness sake, but according to this article in the Santa Fe New Mexican, the drought in the Land of Enchantment is getting worse, leaving the state vulnerable to wildfires. Experts say it is the worst drought since 1900. So outdoor retailers in New Mexico, please help by making your customers aware of how to avoid forest fires. It might be obvious to those of us in the industry, but honestly it isn’t obvious to everybody who walks into your stores. 
  • Some of us know we'll never climb Mount Everest, but we can live vicariously through Kyle Bingham on his blog, in which he chronicles his journey climbing some of the highest mountains in the world, finishing off with Everest. His journey is not just a personal one; Bingham will raise awareness for an organization called Falling Whistles that helps stop violence and child imprisonment camps in the Congo.
  • Lowa’s Peter Sachs found this oldie, but goodie, about the Ouray Ice Festival that ran in the New York Times back in 2007. The article goes into the history of the “impossibly beautiful” Ouray, Colo., and how what was a gold-mining town (with miners wielding their axes) back in the 1800s has been transformed into an ice-climbing town (with climbers wielding their ice picks). An interesting read that has the SNEWS team making plans for next year’s Ice Fest. 
  • We know many of you are guilty of it. We’re probably guilty of it ourselves: Sending annoying spam. But there is a way to spam without the likelihood that your customers will put your email directly in the trash. The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story about how some big retailers recently revamped their spam program to do just that and work around customer burnout from emails.
  • Georgia State Parks and the Alpine Shop have something in common: Both want to get more people involved in the outdoors. According to this story in the Gainsville Times, the Georgia State Parks system recently launched its First-Time Camper program, which helps people learn the basics about camping and includes a two-night stay at a campground for $45. Retail giant REI even got involved, lending equipment to the parks system for the expeditions. The gear REI lent to the program includes a six-person tent, a camp stove and fuel, a lantern, two camp chairs and four self-inflating sleeping pads. 
  • According to Canadian radio station News Talk 980 CJME, campers in Saskatchewan are not happy with a newly implemented online booking system. At the opening of camping season, users overloaded the system and left people with frozen web pages that left them unable to book their outdoor adventures. Officials promise the website is up and running, and that the service provider is looking into what happened to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
  • It’s really difficult to enjoy the fresh air when there is smoking going on, but one county in Ontario, Canada, is looking into banning smoking in outdoor parks, pools, beaches and pools and sports fields, according to this story in Ontario’s Walkerton Herald-Times. Some people are calling the suggestion a bit invasive, but others are staunch supporters of keeping the fresh air fresh. Weigh in on the topic in the SNEWS Community.

Have you read anything interesting you'd like to share with us? Maybe we'll include it next week's column with a little shout out to whoever sent it to us. Send a link to the story with the subject line "SNEWS Reads" to be considered.

--Compiled by Ana Trujillo

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