BOULDER, Colo. — The Outdoor Industry Association today thanked U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar for acting to restore a policy of balanced management of public lands.
During a press conference in Denver, Salazar issued an order which will restore the ability of the Bureau of Land Management to designate appropriate areas with wilderness characteristics as “Wild Lands” and to manage them to protect their wilderness values.
In issuing the order, Salazar said he was “establishing common-sense policy for the protection of backcountry areas where Americans recreate, find solitude, and enjoy the wild.”
Peter Metcalf, founder and CEO of Black Diamond; and Frank Hugelmeyer, president of Outdoor Industry Association, joined Secretary Salazar at the press conference. Metcalf gave remarks on behalf of the outdoor industry.
“For too long, the value of preserving these uniquely American landscapes and ensuring their integrity and availability for outdoor recreation has taken a backseat to oil, gas and mineral extraction. The value of outdoor recreation has not been properly valued and considered in land management decision making,” said Metcalf.
“For years, those of us who are part of the outdoor industry have recognized that the tired old debate of jobs versus preservation was an insult to the 6.5 million Americans whose jobs are dependent on the active outdoor recreation economy. Today, Secretary Salazar’s bold action has reframed the debate, acknowledged our industry’s contribution to the health of the American economy, while also recognizing the integrity of wild places,” said Metcalf.
Secretary Salazar’s announcement properly values the preservation of outdoor recreation venues on equal terms with other uses of public lands, said Hugelmeyer.
“In a time when Americans are returning to affordable close-to-home recreation experiences, these lands provide families access to opportunities for recreation, hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, adventure and solitude,” he added. “Outdoor recreation in America has been one of the few bright spots in our economy and the availability of well managed landscapes will provide good paying jobs and generate significant economic activity for cities and towns across the United States.”
Hugelmeyer said the BLM has not had any comprehensive national wilderness policy since 2003, when the agency’s wilderness management guidance was revoked as part of a controversial out-of-court settlement between then-Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, the State of Utah, and other parties.
In 2003, OIA threatened to move the trade show out of Utah in protest of the settlement. Outdoor Retailer generates $50 million annually for the Utah economy.
“The new Wild Lands policy affirms the BLM’s authorities under the law, and our responsibility to the American people to protect the wilderness characteristics of the lands we oversee as part of our multiple use mission,” said BLM Director Bob Abbey.
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 provides industry-defining resources and support in government/legislative affairs, market and social research, business‐to-business services and youth outreach initiatives
SOURCE: Outdoor Industry Association press release