GoLite Joins 90 Outdoor Businesses Urging Roadless Area Protections

Today, GoLite joined with ninety outdoor recreation businesses, including industry giants in sending a letter to President-elect Barack Obama urging him to reinstate the Roadless Area Conservation Rule of 2001.
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Ashley Devery
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Steve Pedery, Oregon Wild
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GoLite Joins 90 Outdoor Businesses Urging Roadless Area Protections
On 8th anniversary of Roadless Rule, recreation industry urges Obama to reinstate protections

January 12, 2009, Boulder, CO — The most popular conservation measure ever undertaken in the United States is receiving renewed attention from the outdoor business community on the eighth anniversary of its implementation. Today, GoLite joined with ninety outdoor recreation businesses, including industry giants Patagonia, Sierra Designs, and The North Face, in sending a letter to President-elect Barack Obama urging him to reinstate the Roadless Area Conservation Rule of 2001. The rule protects 58.5 million acres of pristine National Forest land from harmful road-building, logging, and development.

“Protecting pristine recreation areas from development is important to our bottom line, but it's not the only reason we're advocating for these places," said Kim Coupounas, Chief Environmental Officer, GoLite. “It's also about walking the talk and letting our customers know that we are going to stand up for the things they value.”

In otherwise uncertain economic times, the outdoor industry has been a bright spot. The Outdoor Industry Association estimates that recreation based businesses contribute well over $700 billion to the nation's economy, support nearly 6.5 million jobs, and generate $88 billion in annual state and national tax revenue. These businesses depend upon the ability of customers to hike, camp, hunt, and fish on our public lands.

The 2001 Roadless Rule protected 58.5 million acres of our nation's unspoiled roadless wildlands while allowing commonsense exceptions for public health and safety, and access to private property. The rule was passed after the submission of an unprecedented 1.6 million public comments – 95% of which were in favor of the rule.

During the last eight years, the Bush administration has relentlessly worked to weaken the rule, often bypassing environmental laws to remove roadless protections. As the result of dueling court rulings, roadless backcountry areas in only 10 of the 50 states are currently protected (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, in addition to New Mexico.) Roadless areas in other states are once again on the chopping block.

“With all the back and forth over roadless protections during the last eight years, it is really exciting to see the business community step forward like this,” said Rob Klavins, with the conservation group Oregon Wild, an early leader in the roadless protection effort. “It really says a lot about what we value as a nation.”

America's roadless wildlands are not only important for recreation enthusiasts. They contain pristine streams that provide our communities with safe, clean sources of drinking water. Roadless areas provide valuable habitat to fish and wildlife. And in a time of increasing concern over climate change, roadless wildlands contain old-growth forests that serve as the earth's lungs, capturing and storing pollution that causes global warming.

**In conjunction with Monday's anniversary, a national coalition of conservation groups will be joined by former U.S. Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck, and current chair of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) to announce a national campaign to reinstate the rule. A telebriefing will be held at 1 pm EST (10 am PST). Please contact Sean Stevens for call-in details, ss@oregonwild.org, 503.283.6343 ext 211

See the full business letter here:
http://www.oregonwild.org/oregon_forests/oregon_roadless_wild_lands/Roadless_Business_Letter_Final.pdf

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