The 2011 Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) Friend of the Outdoor Industry Awards will be presented to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) in recognition of their leadership in support of the active outdoor recreation industry. The awards will be presented Wedneday evening (April 6) during the annual Outdoor Industry Association Capitol Summit in Washington, D.C.

“Senator Burr and Senator Wyden have demonstrated strong leadership on behalf of the outdoor recreation industry. They have both led significant legislation initiatives that ensure the growth of our nation’s recreation infrastructure and the health of the outdoor industry supply chain,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president & CEO of OIA. “We are deeply thankful for their efforts.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is a member of the Senate Finance Committee where he is chair of the subcommittee on Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness. He also serves on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, where he chairs the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests. These two committee assignments make him a key and valued advocate for the OIA Policy Agenda on both trade and recreation issues.

Wyden is the lead sponsor of the OIA signature trade initiative, the U.S. OUTDOOR Act, legislation that would create distinct classifications for outdoor performance apparel, eliminate import tariffs on these products and use a portion of those duty savings to reinvest back in U.S.-based organizations that advance research into sustainable textile and apparel production.

On public lands and conservation, Sen. Wyden, has been a vocal advocate in support of funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the National Park Service and the Forest Legacy Program – all programs central to preserving public lands for recreation in America.

Wyden was a cosponsor of S. 2747, the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act, legislation that would fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In advocating for passage of the bill, Sen. Wyden recognized outdoor recreation as a huge “economic bonanza for our nation” during a speech on the Senate floor.

Peter Bragdon, general counsel at Columbia Sportswear, will present the award to Sen. Wyden at tonight’s Friend of the Outdoor Industry Awards reception on Capitol Hill.

“Senator Wyden’s leadership on trade issues will ensure the development of innovative products, make performance outerwear more affordable for consumers and will stimulate job growth in the outdoor recreation industry,” said Bragdon.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) is a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where he serves as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on National Parks. In this role, he has proven to be an important Republican ally and leader in the fight for increased funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

In the 111th Congress, Sen. Burr stepped forward as an unabashed champion of full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Sen. Burr carried his support directly to Republican and Democratic leadership, authoring a letter that three of his Republican colleagues signed, stating:

“The LWCF has enjoyed strong bi-partisan support since it was authorized more than 45 years ago. Americans throughout the nation have enjoyed the national parks, forests and refuges that have benefited from the program, as well as state and local neighborhood parks in countless communities in every state. Hunting, fishing, camping, climbing, hiking, paddling, backcountry skiing, mountain biking, wildlife viewing and other activities contribute a total of $730 billion annually to the economy, supporting 6.5 million jobs and stimulating eight percent of all consumer spending according to the Outdoor Industry Foundation. Numerous conservation, sportsmen and industry groups support full and dedicated funding for this program.”

Sutton Bacon, CEO of Nantahala Outdoor Center will present the 2011 Friend of the Outdoor Industry Award to Sen. Burr.

“Senator Burr worked tirelessly with OIA and the LWCF coalition through the fall and into the final days of the congressional session to advocate for full funding for LWCF to develop strategies to see it over the finish line. While the effort was ultimately unsuccessful, Senator Burr’s leadership made full funding for LWCF a bi-partisan issue and set us up to continue the fight,” said Bacon.

The Friend of the Outdoor Industry Award is presented annually to members of Congress and administration officials in recognition for their leadership in support of the active outdoor recreation industry.

Past recipients of the Friend of the Outdoor Industry Award include:


  • 2010: Congressman Mike Castle (R-DE), Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM).
  • 2009: Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
  • 2008: Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR), Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO)
  • 2007: Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE), Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO)
  • 2006: Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO)
  • 2005: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
  • 2004: Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY)
  • 2003: Rep. David Obey (D-WI), Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT)
  • 2002: Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA)
  • 2001: Rep. George Miller (D-CA), Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH)