Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Outdoors Businesses Unite to Urge Passage of Great American Outdoor Act

In letter to House leadership, coalition of outdoors companies says bill
‘will stimulate our economy at a time when our country needs it most’

MISSOULA, Mont. – A broad coalition of outdoors-focused businesses is urging the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Great American Outdoors Act, bipartisan legislation being called a “once in a generation” opportunity to fund conservation and access in the United States, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers announced today. The House has scheduled a vote on the bill next Wednesday, July 22.

A diverse slate of interests, including hunters and anglers, recreationists and outdoor companies, has spoken up forcefully in support of the Great American Outdoors Act, or GAOA. The 21 businesses, which signed a letterthat was sent yesterday afternoon to House offices and leadership, include hunting, fishing, rafting and camping manufacturers. GAOA would fully dedicate funds to the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million annually and address maintenance backlogs on public lands and waters at $9.5 billion over five years. Last month, the Senate passed identical legislation 73-25.

“As companies dedicated to the future of hunting and angling, we are proud to be a driving economic force deeply connected to our public lands and waters,” stated the outdoor businesses in the letter. “We can help put people back to work with shovel-ready projects on the ground and create even more outdoor recreation jobs that fuel reconnection with the outdoors.”

This morning BHA discussed the Great American Outdoors Act with congressional champions, outdoor industry representatives, military members, college students and grassroots leaders in a live event.

Outdoor industry leaders reiterated the importance of the Great American Outdoors Act to the nation’s economic health and recovery.

“The Great American Outdoors Act helps protect both our business and our passion,” said Ford Van Fossan, conservation and content manager for First Lite. “It is the stimulus that the outdoor recreation industry desperately needs right now, and it won’t cost the American people a dime.”

“As a business, Seek Outside products are designed for public land dispersed camping,” said Kevin Timm, founder and president of Seek Outside. “This is great news to outdoor recreationalists, backpackers and hunters, as well as companies like Seek Outside that provide products for those environments.”

“Filson was founded 123 years ago to outfit customers as they head into the outdoors to work, recreate and find purpose,” said Amy Terai, Filsonpartnerships manager. “Our company stands in support of the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, as it is our responsibility as stewards of our environment and members of the business community to help provide an equitable future for all Americans to enjoy our public lands.”

“America’s public lands and waters are the heartbeat of our business,” said Steve Fechheimer, CEO of New Belgium Brewing. “Healthy rivers and ecosystems not only provide us with the bounty with which we make our beer; they also provide our customers and employees with adventure, solace and physical and mental health opportunities – which are now more important than ever. We strongly support the Great American Outdoors Act and the critical investments in our public lands and economy that it signifies. Conservation groups, businesses, elected officials, hunters and anglers have worked tirelessly for many years to fully fund LWCF. Now is the time to see their efforts through!”

BHA has worked with diverse voices in the outdoors industry and beyond to elevate the Great American Outdoors Act in Congress and encourage its passage without amendments.

“Together we have raised our voices in support of access to the great outdoors and to conservation of our public lands and waters,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney, “and today our House leaders – following a 73-25 vote in support by the Senate – are heeding our call. Together we are making history!

“At BHA, we recognize the critical role played by the outdoor industry in the economic health of communities across the United States,” Tawney continued. “We are proud to partner with likeminded businesses to support our public lands and waters. Together we urge the House of Representatives to unite in swiftly advancing the Great American Outdoors Act to the president’s desk.”

Read the outdoor business letter.

Contact: Katie McKalip, 406-240-9262,