America's outdoor industry voices support for National Landscape Conservation System to Congress

Silver Spring, MD -- American Hiking Society, the only national organization that promotes and protects foot trails and the hiking experience, and Outdoor Industry Association, the national trade group representing manufacturers and retailers in the outdoor industry, delivered a letter to Congress today from 60 leading outdoor industry companies announcing unified support of the Bureau of Land Management s National Landscape Conservation System.
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Silver Spring, MD -- American Hiking Society, the only national organization that promotes and protects foot trails and the hiking experience, and Outdoor Industry Association, the national trade group representing manufacturers and retailers in the outdoor industry, delivered a letter to Congress today from 60 leading outdoor industry companies announcing unified support of the Bureau of Land Management s National Landscape Conservation System.

The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote Wednesday on a bill that will grant permanent Congressional recognition to the National Landscape Conservation System. This vote is an important step toward assuring that the BLM's Conservation System will have the same permanent Congressional recognition as other national treasures, like the National Park System.

"These companies are sending a strong message to Congress and the American people," said Gregory Miller, American Hiking Society president. "The BLM s Conservation System is home to thousands of miles of the best hiking trails in America, and together we are committed to protecting their incredible recreational, natural and cultural resources both for their intrinsic value and for the significant benefits the Active Outdoor Economy provides."

Created in 2000, the Conservation System encompasses 26 million acres of extraordinary lands and waters, including more than 5,000 miles of National Scenic and Historic Trails and thousands of miles of other spectacular trails. Examples include the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail and the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail, both of which span America from Canada to Mexico. American Hiking's Western Public Lands Initiative raises awareness of and seeks permanent protection for these vast, unique areas. To view the Letter to Congress, visit www.AmericanHiking.org.

"Outdoor recreation enthusiasts who enjoy such places fuel a vibrant economy driven by the outdoor industry the companies that make equipment necessary for safe and enjoyable experiences outside," said Frank Hugelmeyer, OIA president.

The Active Outdoor Recreation Economy contributes more than $730 billion to the U.S. economy each year including direct support for more than 6.5 million jobs, according to industry research.

About American Hiking Society
Founded in 1976, American Hiking Society is the only national, recreation-based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting America s hiking trails, their surrounding natural areas and the hiking experience. To learn more about American Hiking Society and its programs, including the Western Public Lands Initiative, please visit www.AmericanHiking.org or call (301) 565-6704.

About Outdoor Industry Association
Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is a national trade association whose mission is to ensure the growth and success of the outdoor industry. OIA provides trade services for more than 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers in the outdoor industry. OIA programs include representation in government/legislative affairs, market and social research, business-to-business services and youth outreach initiatives. Educational events include the annual Rendezvous, Outdoor University and the Capitol Summit. Outdoor Industry Association is based in Boulder, Colorado, and is the title sponsor of the Outdoor Retailer tradeshows. For more information go to www.outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.

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