Outdoor News November 24, 2017 - Explore! Outdoor News November 24, 2017 - Explore!

Outdoor News November 24, 2017

Opt Outside

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday and are opting outside today.  For the third year running, REI Co-op, the nation’s largest consumer co-op and specialty outdoor retailer, is closing its 151 stores today, processing no online sales and paying all 12,000 employees to #OptOutside with family and friends.
OptoutsideEach year, REI gives more than 70 percent of its profits back to the outdoor community. Rather than seek to pull shoppers inside for this Thanksgiving weekend, REI is launching a new experiential search engine at REI.com/opt-outside to help inspire and enable people to get outside. It’s powered by the individual and collective experiences of the outdoor community and free for all to use.
“We are doing this again to unite people and to find common ground in the outdoors,” said REI CEO Jerry Stritzke. “Right now, I think people are looking for a moment to take a breath, reground themselves and come together. More than 700 organizations and nearly 8 million people have joined #OptOutside over the past two years. We could not be more thankful. But last year we stepped back and said we can do more. We asked how we could offer new practical tools and inspiration. So we have captured the experiences of the outdoor community and organized them in a way that no one has done before.”
At the heart of this year’s effort, the new experiential search engine from REI is designed to inspire millions of people to #OptOutside. It features images pulled entirely from #OptOutside user-generated content (UGC) on Instagram, augmented with real-time information about locations and experiences across the country. For example, users who click on an image of a hiker can see the name of the specific trail featured, the trail’s difficulty rating, directions to the trailhead, recent user reviews of the experience and related expert advice from REI. Beginning today and leading up to Black Friday, the co-op will release 20 films featuring this community-created imagery to connect people through their shared #OptOutside experiences. 

Outdoor Rec = Export Industry

Evan E. Hjerpe of the Conservation Economics Institute has just published a study titled, “Outdoor Recreation as a Sustainable Export Industry: A Case Study of the Boundary Waters Wilderness” in Ecological Economics.  Here is the abstract:

BWCAThe Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) in northeastern Minnesota contains more than a million acres of connected lakes and rivers. As one of the most heavily visited U.S. Wilderness areas, the BWCAW represents an ecosystem managed primarily for conservation values that also has a substantial regional economic impact. This combination of high visitation and strong conservation management represents a sustainable symbiotic relationship where visitor expenditures help maintain ecosystem protection. To investigate this symbiotic relationship, the regional economic impacts of the BWCAW were estimated. Multiplier effects were calculated and the sustainability and tradeoffs associated with BWCAW tourism were examined, as was the export nature of BWCAW recreation. Data collection consisted of surveying 2016 summer BWCAW visitors. Visitor regional expenditures were extrapolated to overall visitation data and entered into IMPLAN impact analysis software. Based on 513 completed surveys, and an overall survey response rate of 40%, out-of-region visitors spent over $56 million in the three counties surrounding the BWCAW in 2016, generating $78 million in total economic output and creating 1100 full and part-time jobs. Estimated economic impacts of outdoor re- creation and their sustainability can be helpful for informing regional economic development policy for con- servation areas world-wide. 

You can find the full report at: leopold.wilderness.net/stories/1-Outdoor-Recreation-as-a-Sustainable-Export-Industry-0021.pdf


States Oppose National Park Fee Hikes

The Attorneys General of California, Arizona, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington sent a letter to Michael T. Reynolds Acting Director of the National Park Service on Wednesday.  They oppose the proposed increases in National Park entrance fees saying:

NPS Logo“Unlike prior fee increases or changes established by the Service, the current proposal fails to include any analysis or evidence that the Service has considered or met the criteria set forth by Congress in Section 6802(b) of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2004 (“FLREA”), 16 U.S.C. § 6802(b). The proposal provides no economic analysis to support its conclusions that revenues will increase by the amount projected or that the maintenance backlog will be reduced. Nor is the effect of the fee increase on recreation users and recreation service providers considered. For example, two of the Service’s own surveys have found that cost – including travel, lodging and entrance fees – is a major reason for the underrepresentation of minority communities among park visitors, but the impact of a doubling or tripling of entrance fees on those communities is not addressed in the proposal. Further, the Service has not provided any data regarding comparable fees charged elsewhere and by other public agencies and nearby private sector operators, as it is required to do. And, the proposal fails to consider the public policy or management objectives served by the recreation fee. In short, the Service has failed to adhere to the criteria set forth by Congress.”

You can find the letter here: www.riag.ri.gov/documents/NPSFeesLetter.pdf


Land Trusts in North Carolina

In North Carolina, trails and activities can be found on land conserved by the state’s 22 land trusts. 

North Carolina ForestThe Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina has protected more than 51,000 acres from development and ensured they’re accessible to all, explains executive director Andrew Kota.  “We have these nice open spaces to stretch our legs, and when we’re stretching our legs by hiking or biking, we’re stretching our minds a little bit and it’s giving us a little bit of peace of mind,” he states.

Land conservancies work with landowners to purchase land and protect it for the future. Three of North Carolina’s Scenic Byways cross the conservancy’s eight-county region, including the Pisgah Loop, the Upper Yadkin Way, and South Mountains Scenery crossing upper Rutherford and Cleveland counties.

Conserving Carolina is another conservancy that works to protect public access to trails, water recreation and rock climbing.  Assistant director for programs Rebekah Robinson says Conserving Carolina’s mission extends beyond just protecting the land, but also planting a seed for future generations.  “Part of our mission at Conserving Carolina is not just to protect land and water and other natural resources, but to really connect people to those resources to understanding how they impact their life every day,” she points out.

Kota says the value of land conservancies and the outdoor recreation they preserve is that they’re accessible to all, regardless of how much money people have in their pockets.  “It doesn’t matter what your economic background is,” he stresses. “These places are typically free, and that’s the whole point of what we do.  “Most of the properties that Foothills Conservancy has protected has gone into public ownership so people can hike, bike, go rock climbing.”

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service – NC

Get Outside Today in Delaware

Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Division of Parks & Recreation (DNREC), and Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), invite the public to #OptOutside today by visiting Delaware State Parks. This year, visitors can enjoy free entry to 15 state parks, and the Brandywine Zoo is joining in on the outdoor fun and will also be waiving admission all day.

Delaware Ocean Jetty“The ‘Opt Outside’ event has become a tradition at DNREC’s Delaware State Parks, and the numbers of visitors are increasing each year,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “Between the Brandywine Zoo and 15 parks across the state, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Those willing to forego marathon shopping and opt instead for a day of hiking, biking, and adventuring will find more than 100 miles of trails to explore throughout Delaware, spectacular locations for bird and wildlife watching, scenic beaches, and much more.”

The Opt Outside movement, started by REI in 2015, encourages families and friends across the nation to ditch the retail madness and get outdoors on Black Friday. The 16 million-member outdoor co-op sets an example by shutting its doors, and giving its 12,000 employees a paid day off.

This is the third year that DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation will be participating in the event, along with more than 700 organizations and seven million people nationwide.

All Delaware State Parks’ gates will open at 8 a.m. today, with the exception of Fort Delaware State Park, which is closed for the season. In addition, park offices will be closed. The Brandywine Zoo will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The public can use the hashtag #OptOutside on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to show support and invite family and friends to join the movement.

Visit destateparks.com for park locations and more fun ideas on how to get outside in Delaware.


Special Savings for Our Readers 

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Video of the Week

Time lapse photography takes a lot of time to shoot.  A five minute video takes five minutes to shoot.  A five minute time-lapse might take hours.  This week’s video features time lapse and regular video shot over the course of several years at Rocky Mountain National Park.  Enjoy the park as you watch the seasons change!


This newsletter is compiled by Jerry Haugen and brought to you by
Global Creations EXPLORE!  The eMagazine for Adventure and Exploration

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