Outdoor Recreation Trade Groups Form Partnership For Climate Change Action

A collection of outdoor trade groups announced they’re forming a collaboration to step up action on climate change.

Chris Steinkamp is the director of one of the trade groups, Snowsports Industries America, which represents snow sports suppliers. He says until recently, brands were hesitant to get involved on such a politically polarized issue -- until, that is, climate change started visibly edging into the reality of their businesses.

“Snow is currency to us and so we've got to make sure that it sticks around,” he says. “A lot of the resorts and brands that depend on a consistent winter … are taking action now because they understand the threat that lies ahead.”

Beyond the immediate financial pickle that bad winters put on the snow sports industry, Steinkamp says climate change is also leading consumers to pressure for action.

“Consumers are starting to ask questions about their brands. They’re saying, ‘What are you doing about climate?’ So it's turned into something that is very smart business for businesses to get involved on climate,” says Steinkamp.

A major goal of the Outdoor Business Climate Partnership is to pressure lawmakers to pass climate legislation at the national level. It also wants to see more local policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting the use of cleaner sources of electricity.

According to the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis, the outdoor recreation industry is worth $400 billion. Industry groups estimate that winter sports account for $72 billion of that number.

The announcement was made at the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show, which moved from Salt Lake City to Denver last year after state lawmakers in Utah supported shrinking public lands in that state.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado. 

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