Seventy-five outdoor businesses, the Outdoor Industry Association, Outdoor Alliance and the National Parks Conservation Association have signed on to a letter calling on Congress to protect public lands from climate change impacts. The letter, which will be delivered to Congressional offices this week, is below.
Members of the outdoor recreation industry, along with the National Parks Conservation Association and the Outdoor Alliance, are seriously concerned about the immediate and profound threats climate change poses to Americas natural areas and the significant outdoor pursuits and economic activities supported by these places.
The people and businesses of the outdoor community are some of the first to experience the impacts of climate change on our public lands.
Declining snowpack shortens ski and snowshoe seasons, makes alpine climbing more dangerous and can eliminate ice climbing. Less snowpack means less water in our creeks, rivers and lakes for paddling. Higher temperatures and prolonged droughts impact the forests, mountains, deserts, and rivers where we recreate. Climate change can degrade, limit, and in some cases eliminate opportunities for outdoor experiences.
As climate legislation moves forward, we ask you prioritize protecting our national and state parks, forests, wild and scenic rivers, national conservation areas, wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, and national recreation areas. Healthy lands and waters as well as the wildlife and habitat that they support are the foundation of the $730 billion in economic activity generated by active outdoor recreation, which supports 6.5 million jobs — 1 in 20 across the U.S. — and $88 billion in state and federal tax revenue.
Though our lands, waters, plant and animals certainly deserve protection for their own sake, they should also be protected for the wealth of ecosystem services they provide for society at large: Clean air and water, biodiversity, carbon storage, wildlife habitat, historic landscapes and, particularly, outdoor recreation.
Our national parks are the envy of the world and are part of the lifeblood of the people and businesses that make up the outdoor community. Climate-related changes will increasingly degrade our national parks and harm the communities and businesses that depend on healthy natural resources for their continued economic prosperity.
Investments that help restore Americas wildlife and natural resources, making them more resilient to climate change, will improve the ecological health of our national parks and other public lands while enhancing the active recreation economy and the national economy at large.
For the sake of our national parks, forests, rivers, other natural areas and wild places, as well as the thriving economic activity that these places support, please make sure that protecting and enhancing Americas natural areas is a priority in climate legislation. Thank you for your consideration.