OIA has asked for the support of the outdoor industry in its efforts to see that the Stateside Land and Water Conservation Fund and Urban Parks and Recreation Recovery programs are fully funded. Over thirty of the outdoor industry’s top CEOs and presidents have signed an Outdoor Industry Association letter to President Bush urging him to include funding for outdoor recreation in his FY 2006 federal budget, but many more signatures are needed.

The letter asks Bush to keep a 2000 campaign promise to fully fund Stateside Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $450 million and the Urban Parks and Recreation Recovery (UPARR) at $100 million. Both programs are essential to the success and growth of the outdoor industry by ensuring quality recreation experiences at the state and local level, but both have been chronically under funded.

So far, a diversity of outdoor businesses have approved their participation in the effort, including American Recreation Products, Columbia, Petzl, Cloudveil, Horny Toad, REI, and Outdoor Retailer, but many more companies are needed.

Letter to President Bush

Outdoor Industry CEOs urge full funding of Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and Urban Park and Recreation Recovery (UPARR) programs.

January 24, 2005

Dear President Bush:

As you put the finishing touches on your proposed FY 2006 federal budget, we strongly urge you to provide full funding for two vital programs for America: the stateside Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $450 million and the Urban Parks and Recreation Restoration Program (UPARR) at $100 million. Both programs help states, cities and towns provide recreation experiences and healthy lifestyle options to all Americans.

Obesity is at a crisis phase in our country; Americans have become more sedentary and this physical inactivity crisis has led to increased health care costs for diabetes, heart disease and other major health issues.

Our research, “Exploring the Active Lifestyle”, shows that hiking, camping and biking are gateway activities to a healthier active lifestyle. If children start early, these behaviors will be engrained, leading to healthier, active lives. We also know that “close to home” recreation is key, making state and local programs especially important. Stateside LWCF is one of the federal government¬ís primary investment tools for ensuring that kids are introduced to these activities.

We were pleased that in your first presidential campaign, you pledged full funding for LWCF. Unfortunately, other worthy conservation programs have been re-categorized as “LWCF programs”, masking a decline in the true stateside LWCF, which was created in 1964 to provide dollars to states to leverage state and private dollars for acquiring and developing new parks and open space. It is this traditional stateside program that we seek to invigorate.

As CEOs of outdoor recreation businesses, we recognize the tough decisions you have before you regarding spending priorities; however, we believe that with soaring medical costs, investing in more active lifestyles is essential. If investment in trails and parks, through programs like stateside LWCF and UPARR, led to even a 5% decrease in the $75 billion in medical costs associated with obesity in 2003 (half of which were carried by the federal government), the investment would mean $1.875 billion in savings for American taxpayers. That is a savings of $3.40 in tax dollars for each dollar invested. We strongly encourage you to make this investment for healthier Americans and healthier communities.


CEOs of the outdoor industry

CONTACT Alex Boian at aboian@outdoorindustry.org or 303.444.3353 ext. 209 to sign on.