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Protect Our Public Lands

A Message from Our CEO

Throughout my life, my best memories have come from sharing outdoor experiences with family and friends. Spending time outside is at the heart of our business and is central to the lives of our customers and employees alike; public lands are the setting to many of these moments. These public lands are a vital part of who we are, and we need to cherish and protect them. This is why Backcountry is uniting with other leading companies in the outdoor industry to urge the preservation of our wild spaces, keeping them in the public trust and out of the hands of private entities. Generations before us have had the foresight to protect these places, and now it’s our turn.

Thank you,
Jonathan Nielsen
CEO, Backcountry

Outdoor Industry Business Leaders: On Public Lands

To our elected officials and those who value America’s great outdoors:

This open letter expresses the view of more than 100 leaders of large and small businesses in the outdoor industry, which contributes more than $650 billion annually to the U.S. economy, generates $80 billion in tax revenue, and employs more than six million people. Together, we represent a huge range of activities — from hiking to hunting and camping to conservation.

Our businesses make the lives of everyday Americans, from every corner of the political spectrum, healthier and happier. We do not often unite as an industry in the way we are today, but we are compelled to make clear our collective view on a vitally important issue that affects the economic health of our industry, our local communities, and the lives of all Americans.

It is an American right to roam in our public lands. The people of the United States, today and tomorrow, share equally in the ownership of these majestic places. This powerful idea transcends party lines and sets our country apart from the rest of the world. That is why we strongly oppose any proposal, current or future, that devalues or compromises the integrity of our national public lands.

Yet as the 115th Congress begins, efforts are underway that threaten to undermine over one hundred years of public investment, stewardship, and enjoyment of our national public lands. Stated simply, these efforts would be bad for the American people. They include the potential of national public lands being privatized or given to states who might sell them to the highest bidder. This would unravel courageous efforts by leaders from across the political spectrum and up to the present day, including Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt.

This is not a red or blue issue. It is an issue that affects our shared freedoms. Public lands should remain in public hands.

We hold these views both as leaders of the outdoor industry — which creates significant economic value for this country — and as individuals who believe deeply that the next generation should be free to benefit from our national public lands as we and our families do today.

The undersigned companies are therefore working together to ensure that all Americans maintain their right to our iconic national public lands and that it is not taken away.

  1. Outdoor Industry Association, Amy Roberts, Executive Director
  2. Appalachian Outfitters, Mike & Karen Leffler, Owners
  3. Ascent Solar Technologies, Victor Lee, President & CEO
  4. Backbone Media, Penn Newhard, Founder & Managing Partner
  5. Backcountry, Jonathan Nielsen, CEO
  6. Backcountry North, Tracy Mayer, Owner
  7. Backwoods Retail, Inc., Jennifer Mull, Owner & CEO
  8. Benchmade Knife Company, David Fee, Vice President
  9. BioLite, Jonathan Cedar, Founder & CEO
  10. Black Creek Outfitters, Joe & Liz Butler, Owners
  11. Cascade Designs, David Burroughs, President
  12. Chaco, Seth Cobb, President
  13. Champaign Surplus, Dan & Shira Epstein, Owners
  14. Clif Bar & Company, Kevin Cleary, CEO
  15. Columbia Sportswear Company, Tim Boyle, President & CEO
  16. Combat Flip Flops, Matthew Griffin, CEO
  17. Confluence Watersports, Sue Rechner, President & CEO
  18. Dakine, Ken Meidell, CEO
  19. Darn Tough Vermont, Ric Cabot, President & CEO
  20. Denali, Chris Howe, Owner
  21. Diamond Brand Outdoors, Will Gay, Owner
  22. Eagle Creek, Roger Spatz, President
  23. Eastside Sports, Chris Iversen & Todd Vogel, Co-Owners
  24. Exxel Outdoors, LLC, Harry Kazazian, CEO
  25. Far Bank Enterprises, Travis Campbell, President & CEO
  26. First Lite, Kenton Carruth, Co-Founder and Owner
  27. Fishpond, John Land Le Coq, Founder & CEO
  28. Flowfold, James Morin, Owner & COO
  29. Goal Zero, William Harmon, General Manager
  30. Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, Rich Hill, President
  31. Great Outdoor Provision Co., Travis Zarins, Owner
  32. HipCamp, Alyssa Ravasio, Founder & CEO
  33. Ibex Outdoor Clothing, Ted Manning, CEO
  1. Idaho Mountain Touring, Chris & Jill Haunold, Owners
  2. JanSport, Steve Munn, President
  3. Kammok, Haley Robison, CEO
  4. Keen, Casey Sheahan, CEO
  5. Kuhl, Kevin Boyle, President
  6. La Sportiva N.A., Inc., Jonathan Lantz, President
  7. Light Speed Outdoors, Brian Cox, CEO
  8. Lucy, Laurie Etheridge, President
  9. Massey's Outfitters, Mike Massey, President
  10. Mountain Hardwear, Dennis Randall, CMO
  11. Mountain Khakis, Ross Saldarini, President
  12. Mountain Safety Research (MSR), Chris Parkhurst, Vice President
  13. Mountain Works, Inc., Jim Smith, President
  14. My Outdoor Alphabet, Seth Neilson, CEO
  15. Nemo, Cam Brensinger, CEO
  16. New Balance, Rob DeMartini, President & CEO
  17. Oru Kayak, Roberto Gutierrez, Founder & CCO
  18. Orvis, Perk Perkins, CEO
  19. Osprey, Layne Rigney, President
  20. Outdoor Research, Dan Nordstrom, CEO
  21. Outside Brands / Outside Hilton Head, Mike Overton, CEO
  22. Pack & Paddle, John Williams, President
  23. Pack Rat Outdoor Center, Scott & Carolyn Crook, Founders & Owners
  24. Patagonia, Rose Marcario, President & CEO
  25. Peak Design, Peter Dering, Founder & CEO
  26. Piragis Northwoods Company, Steve Piragis, Owner
  27. Packtowl, Doug Jacot, Vice President
  28. Platypus, Doug Jacot, Vice President
  29. Point6, Peter Duke, CEO
  30. prAna Living, Scott Kerslake, CEO
  31. Ramsey Outdoor, Stuart and Michael Levine, Owners
  32. REI, Jerry Stritzke, President & CEO
  33. Redington, Travis Campbell, President & CEO
  1. Rio, Travis Campbell, President & CEO
  2. River Sports Outfitters, Ed McAlister, Owner
  3. Roads Rivers and Trails, Emily White, Co-Founder & Owner
  4. Rock Creek Outfitters, Dawson Wheeler, Founder
  5. Ruffwear, Patrick Kruse, R&D Director & Founder
  6. Rutabaga Paddlesports, Darren Bush, Owner & CEO
  7. Sage, Travis Campbell, President & CEO
  8. SealLine, Doug Jacot, Vice President
  9. Simms, K.C. Walsh, President & CEO
  10. Skinny Skis, Phil Leeds & Scott O'Brien, Owners
  11. Soar Communications, Chip Smith, President
  12. Sorel, Mark Nenow, President
  13. Stanley PMI, Kelly Kraus, Vice President, Stanley Brand
  14. Summit Hut, Dana Davis, President & Co-Owner
  15. Sunlight Sports, Wes Allen, Owner
  16. Superfeet Worldwide, John Rauvola, CEO
  17. Tahoe Mountain Sports, Dave Polivy, Co-Owner
  18. Tenkara USA, Daniel Galhardo, Founder
  19. The Base Camp, Scott Brown, Owner
  20. The Mountaineer, Vinny McClelland, President
  21. The North Face, Scott Baxter, Group President
  22. The Trail Head, Todd Frank, Owner
  23. The Toggery, Trek Stephens, President
  24. Therm-a-Rest Brands, Doug Jacot, Vice President
  25. Timberland, Jim Pisani, Global Brand President
  26. Toad&Co, Gordon Seabury, CEO (& OIA board chair)
  27. Trail Creek Outfitters, Ed Camelli & Brian Havertine, Owners
  28. Travel Country, Mike Plante, Owner
  29. Ute Mountaineer, Bob Wade & Maile Spung, Owners
  30. VF Corporation, Steve Rendle, President and CEO
  31. Weighmyrack, Allison Dennis, Founder & CEO
  32. Western Spirit Cycling, Ashley Korenblat, CEO
  33. Woolrich, Inc., Nick Brayton, President
  34. Zumiez, Inc., Tom Campion, Founder and Chair

Supporting Conservation

Since 2014, Backcountry has partnered with The Nature Conservancy to support its efforts to conserve land, combat climate change, and defend clean water in the US and worldwide. We’re proud to assist them in their mission of protecting the lands and waters on which all life depends; join us in supporting them.