FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Outdoor Industry Association
OIA Members Attend White House Conference on Conservation, Reinforce Outdoor Recreation Economy
Conference Sets the Stage for a New Era of Conservation
BOULDER, Colo., March 2, 2012 — Today Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) participated in a White House Conference on Conservation — Growing America’s Outdoor Heritage and Economy — which took place at the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. The forum explored the link between conservation and strong local economies through tourism, outdoor recreation, and healthy lands, waters and wildlife.
OIA staff members as well as two OIA board members — Will Manzer, CEO of Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS), which is based in New Hampshire; and Sutton Bacon, president and CEO of Nantahala Outdoor Center, located in Asheville, N.C. — attended the invitation-only event, along with more than 600 constituents engaged in the Department of the Interior’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.
President Obama launched the America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Initiative in 2010 to develop a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda. AGO’s premise is that lasting conservation solutions should rise from the American people, and that the protection of our natural heritage is a non-partisan objective shared by all Americans.
OIA Board Chair Will Manzer provided opening remarks for a special breakout session on Outdoor Recreation.
“When people get outside, America wins,” said Manzer. “Protecting the nation’s system of parks and trails protects the economy, the communities and the people whose lives depend on having the ability to go outside.”
In total, the conference featured 11 sessions, on topics including youth engagement, veteran jobs, urban parks, river-based recreation, hunting and fishing, and recreational access.
“This conference was inspiring on so many levels,” said Bacon. “This collective effort will help advance policies that preserve natural resources and promote outdoor recreation. And when we support outdoor recreation, we are supporting the rural communities that depend on access to healthy public lands and waters for jobs and economic growth.”
To cap off the day, President Obama addressed the crowd, reinforcing the importance of conservation and expressing that it can go hand-in-hand with economic vitality.
“We have to protect the places that define who we are and that define our soul as a nation,” said Obama. “There will always be people who say we have to choose between the environment and jobs. I'm here to tell you, that is a false choice. With smart, sustainable policies, we can grow our economy today and protect our environment for our children.”
Outdoor Industry Association
Based in Boulder, Colo., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA supports the growth and success of more than 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives, and retailers of outdoor recreation apparel, footwear, equipment, and services. For more information go to outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.