Business & Wilderness Go Together

The outdoor industry has formed “Businesses for Wilderness” (B4W), a national initiative to support protection of important roadless areas throughout the U.S. It is being jump started with a $1 million grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts. “It’s a myth that protecting wilderness is bad for business,” says Frank Hugelmeyer, president of ORCA, the Kids in Forest                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              outdoor industry trade association representing 4000 businesses. “Wild and undeveloped lands are essential for the health of the $17.8 billion outdoor industry. We were one of the few business sectors that had double digit growth over the past holidays.”

More than 111 million people participate in one of 14 activities that ORCA tracks. “Places for people to enjoy the outdoors are increasingly threatened,” notes Kathleen Beamer, vice president of public affairs for Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), one of the largest retailers and on-line merchants of outdoor gear, with 60 stores in the U.S. and Japan. “Our business and customers thrive when the outdoors is protected. Policy makers deserve to know about this.”

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