The Conservation Alliance Pushes Legislation to Protect Public Lands
November 29, 2018
Group Leads Outdoor Industry Delegation to Washington, D.C.
Bend, Ore., November 29, 2018 – The Conservation Alliance is leading a delegation of outdoor business leaders to Washington, D.C. this week to demonstrate support for a package of legislation in Congress that would protect more than two million acres of land 850 river miles in eight states across the U.S. The group will also push separate bills that would reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, provide funding to cover the maintenance backlog on our National Parks, and improve outdoor recreation on our public lands.
Representatives from KEEN Footwear, Patagonia, The North Face, Arc’teryx, Toad & Co., Superfeet, and Northwest River Supplies (NRS) will meet with Congressional offices on Thursday and Friday to explain the economic benefits of public lands conservation as they advocate for bills that would protect wild lands and rivers in California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington. The business leaders will be joined by representatives from Outdoor Industry Association, and Outdoor Alliance, a coalition of outdoor recreation user groups.
“Outdoor companies, recreation enthusiasts, and local communities benefit when Congress protects our public lands,” said John Sterling, Executive Director of The Conservation Alliance. “These places are the backbone of the outdoor recreation economy, which generates $887 billion in annual consumer spending, and supports 7.6 million American jobs.”
Each of the bills has had a hearing in at least one chamber of Congress, and all are considered viable for inclusion in a legislative package that could pass during the post-election “lame duck” session of Congress. Many of the bills are notably bipartisan, which opens the door for cooperation at the end of the Congressional session.
“Public lands are our common ground, and Congress has the opportunity to move this package of conservation bills as an antidote to the political division that otherwise comes between us,” said Sterling.
The bills that could be included in a public lands package would: designate Wilderness and expand National Parks in the California desert; protect Wilderness and rivers along the Rogue River in Oregon; preserve Utah’s San Rafael Swell and surrounding lands; and permanently ban mining in the headwaters of the Yellowstone River in Montana and in Washington’s Methow Valley. Also politically viable is legislation to reauthorize the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which expired in September. The LWCF uses royalties from oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico to purchase land for recreation and conservation.
Congressional leaders have made no commitment to move these bills this year, but the relevant committees in the House and Senate have worked hard to vet them.
“Occasionally, an opportunity arises to pass legislation that benefits all Americans who love public lands,” said Sterling. “We think that window is open now, and are committed to demonstrating business support for these conservation and recreation measures.”
- Permanent Reauthorization and Full Funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund
- Recreation Not Red Tape Act
- Restore Our Parks/Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act
- California Desert Protection and Recreation Act
- San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act
- Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act
- Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation Act
- Oregon Wildlands Act
- Tennessee Wilderness Act
- Emery County Public Land Management Act
- Methow Headwaters Protection Act
- Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Act
- Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act
About The Conservation Alliance:
The Conservation Alliance is an organization of like-minded businesses whose collective contributions support grassroots environmental organizations and their efforts to protect wild places where outdoor enthusiasts recreate. Alliance funds have played a key role in protecting rivers, trails, wildlands and climbing areas. Membership in the Alliance is open to all companies who care about protecting our most threatened wild places for habitat and outdoor recreation. Since its inception in 1989, The Conservation Alliance has contributed more than $20 million, awarded 580 grants, helped to protect more than 51 million acres of wildlands; protect 3,102 miles of rivers; stop or remove 30 dams; designate five marine reserves; and purchase 13 climbing areas. For complete information on The Conservation Alliance, see www.conservationalliance.com.