A Q&A with vice chairman David Perkins on Montana’s public lands riches, the fascinating science of conservation, and why giving back to groups like the TRCP is just good business sense
We feel pretty lucky to have a great partner in The Orvis Company—these guys obviously love hunting and fishing as much as we do, but they’ve also built their business model around giving back to the resources that support our best days afield. And, no matter where you shop for your gear, the folks at Orvis believe in your ability to access public lands.
That’s why this month for our Public Lands Challenge, Orvis will match every new donation to the TRCP dollar for dollar. And, if you’ve donated before—we appreciate it, by the way!—they’ll also match any increase to your previous gift, doubling your impact for public lands access and enhancements.
David Perkins, vice chairman of The Orvis Company, explains why this effort is important enough to spend more than 5 percent of their pre-tax profits on conservation efforts, and what makes him #PublicLandsProud.
TRCP: Orvis has a donated more than $20 million to conservation since its inception—why is the company so committed to conservation values and how do you engage your customers in the process of giving back?
David Perkins: Quite simply, our bottom line depends on sportsmen and women enjoying the natural resources in our country, and organizations like the TRCP have led the way in proving that if we’re not actively working to enhance habitat or protect our access to public lands, we could lose it. It’s a personal commitment to conservation, but it’s also just good business.
TRCP: What is your earliest memory in the outdoors, and when was your first aha moment about our responsibility to the places we love to hunt and fish?
DP: When I was about ten years old, my father taught me that in order for us to hunt ruffed grouse, like I loved doing, there needed to be early successional forest—the kind of young trees that grow back after a clearing effect, like a fire. I remember being so surprised, since it seemed counterintuitive. By cutting, you actually create habitat for these birds. That stuck with me. I think, since then, I’ve always been fascinated by conservation science and how different species interact with each other and the environment. As hunters and anglers, we’re a part of that. So, people need to be educated, and we all have to be willing to give back to sustain the things we enjoy.
TRCP: Why this issue? What makes you #PublicLandsProud?
DP: Public lands are our largest landscape, and not everyone can afford to access private lands. We have to safeguard those opportunities. I hunt public lands in Montana, and enjoy the state’s generous public stream access, and that makes me #PublicLandsProud. But, it’s a cycle: If people can’t access these lands, they can’t use them and appreciate them, so we’ll have fewer people to fight for them.
Keep the cycle of support for public lands going, and help us guarantee quality places for all Americans to hunt and fish. Donate by November 30, and double your impact.