“Outdoor Recreation” Industry Goes Political- What’s the Battle of Bears Ears Really About?

“Outdoor Recreation” Industry Goes Political- What’s the Battle of Bears Ears Really About?

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The Outdoor Retailer and Snow Show held its first event in Denver this week at the Colorado Convention Center. Thanks to Jennifer Yachnin/E&E News

For those of you who haven’t been involved in Interior West public lands drama, the Outdoor Industry decided to move their annual trade show to Denver from Salt Lake City because of a disagreement with elected officials about Bears Ears.

As it turns out in this E&E News story, apparently that industry has decided to become more politically active:

Peak politics
Roberts said OIA will aim to maintain that newfound engagement among its members in coming months, vowing to hold members of Congress accountable on public lands positions as well as unveiling new programs — including a congressional scorecard and a voter education program.

“I think our opportunity is to go into those areas where we know voters are really concerned about these issues and talk about the importance of the outdoor recreation economy to their state, the opportunity in building an economy that’s built on outdoor recreation, especially for rural areas,” Roberts said. “I think we have a responsibility to raise awareness … so that voters are thinking about that when they go to the polls, and they think about who best represents them.”

Roberts pointed to the latest Conservation in the West Poll released by Colorado College this week, which shows more voters self-identifying as conservationists (Greenwire, Jan. 25).

During a panel discussion on the poll’s results, Roberts also said OIA members will focus more on congressional primary contests, which has not been a priority in past election cycles.

“We have to think as an industry, in districts where it’s likely a Republican is going to be elected, what’s the opportunity in a primary there?” Roberts said. “We know that voters who are identifying as Republicans also care about conservation issues.

This sounds like a full court press (with conveniently released Colorado college polling figures we’d discussed here) and op-eds released at the same time, this one by a Winter Olympian (really?), published by the Colorado Springs Gazette here.

Hearing that the Trump administration has opted to shrink some of our nation’s most treasured national monuments is deeply upsetting to me.

On top of this, lawmakers recently introduced legislation to further secure these reductions to our monuments. These actions are so shocking to me, especially given that the public is so clearly opposed to the idea. Many of these public lands play a critical role in our history, and I can’t imagine getting rid of these protections.

I don’t get the linkage between Bears Ears and their industry. Usually industry folk want reduced tariffs for items they import, and reduced regulation (like streamlining NEPA for guided recreation), but it seems like there is a preference for Monuments and Parks over Forests and BLM.

Is “access” a codeword for Parkification? Who is leading this full court press? Why did they pick Bears Ears, and why are they still going after it? Do current Forest Service and BLM visitors not buy enough Patagonian doo-dads?

Superforest

via A New Century of Forest Planning http://ift.tt/YeNBM9

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