by:

posted in: Outdoor Economy

April 24, 2020

Congress Could Put Americans Back to Work Through Conservation

Why post-COVID economic recovery efforts should include investments in our public lands, fish and wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreation infrastructure

While the coronavirus pandemic has significantly affected the health of Americans and stressed entire segments of the economy, the efforts of our lawmakers to negotiate and pass multiple emergency supplemental funding bills deserves recognition. These steps have improved COVID-19 response and helped to protect America’s small businesses and workers.

This effort has focused on providing support for those who are struggling—and rightly so. The legislation even incentivizes those with the means to contribute to first-response efforts, care groups, and nonprofits like the TRCP.

But when the time comes to turn our attention to economic recovery and putting Americans back to work, we believe that Congress should make key investments in conservation. Here is what we’d prioritize and why.

Salmon migrating upstream in the Bonneville Dam fish ladder. Photo by Tony Grover.
Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure

Think: Improvements to access roads, boat ramps, campgrounds, visitor facilities, and other deferred maintenance projects that have been sorely underfunded on our public lands.

The benefits of investing in this recreation infrastructure are clear and compelling. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, outdoor recreation’s annual economic impact is $778 billion each year. While 40 million Americans hunt and fish each year, it is likely that millions more have enjoyed the benefits of the outdoors over the past several weeks and will continue to do so in the months ahead. It has become evident that American wellbeing is inextricably linked to our commitment to conserving and improving our great outdoors. Investing in the restoration of our nation’s natural resources helps get people back to work.

These investments attract new businesses, recruit and retain employees, and improve quality of life by supporting rural economies, connecting urban populations with our natural treasures, and helping people build healthy lives. In the bargain, we get cleaner air and water, improved fish and wildlife habitat, and better experiences afield.

Congressional leaders should keep this in mind.

Photo by Michael Campbell/BLM.
The Great American Outdoors Act

This legislation was poised for Senate floor action before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis and includes $1.9 billion per year for five years to address the deferred maintenance backlog at our public land management agencies.

The Act also includes mandatory full funding at $900 million annually for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a critically important conservation and access enhancement tool, which would expand funding for exactly the kinds of outdoor spaces that are serving Americans so well right now. Greater access to recreational activities will spur economic activity that boosts local communities and further funds critical conservation programs.

Click here to advocate for the provisions in this legislation.

A Five-Year Highway Bill

Given that the current highway bill expires in September 2020, the conservation community sees this as an opportunity to improve federal road systems, greenways, campgrounds, trails, marinas, and bike paths that connect our communities, improve safety, enhance quality of life, and drive forward recreation economies for rural and urban areas alike. The TRCP is especially supportive of language in the existing Senate bill that funds wildlife-friendly highway crossings at $250 million over five years.

Along with this influx of cash, however, it is critical that design and construction of our roads, highways, bridges, ports, and airports is better integrated into our communities and natural systems—beginning from the project inception phase. As the country recovers and gets back to work, we’ll need to look for every opportunity to reduce costs, address costly safety concerns, expedite project timelines, reduce environmental impacts, and respond to societal needs. Congress has a chance to lead on improved implementation of nature-based and natural infrastructure solutions—including fish and wildlife crossings and connectivity, stormwater reduction, and wetlands restoration—that are smart from the start.

Photo by Paul Bakke/USFWS.
Water Resources

Congress also needs to address the biennial authorization of the Water Resources Development Act, which traditionally garners widespread bipartisan support. Conservationists strongly encourage lawmakers to specifically include robust funding for studies and restoration projects in the Mississippi River watershed and programs that build drought resiliency, increase water efficiency, and infuse critical resources for our nation’s Western water delivery systems and agricultural sector.

Specific Line Items That Advance Conservation on a Landscape Scale

Across the federal government, there are a suite of habitat restoration programs designed to benefit fish and wildlife and enhance the resiliency of our natural systems, including the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, the National Fish Habitat Partnership, and the Forest Service Legacy Roads and Trails Program. These on-the-ground restoration programs infuse important resources into local communities, generate construction jobs, leverage state, local, and private sector resources at ratios of 3:1 or greater, and provide countless environmental benefits for our local communities.

There are also high-priority projects across the country to reverse wildfire damage, remove invasive species, restore habitat and water quality, and empower outdoor recreation users to get involved in conservation and wildlife research.

These efforts could productively and rapidly utilize an influx of funding to achieve meaningful on-the-ground conservation work, and we strongly encourage funding for these programs to be included in the stimulus. But legislative language should ensure that funding for projects should be contingent on the completion of an appropriate level of environmental review, with a strong preference for projects that have already been subject to environmental analysis.

Photo by FolsomNatural via flickr.
Lessons from the Past

It’s important to note that lawmakers have taken these steps before. In what became a successful effort to get the economy moving again after the financial crisis of 2008, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Among a host of other provisions, ARRA wisely included substantial investments in public lands, fish and wildlife habitat restoration, and water quality, sending critical funding to projects that had the dual benefit of getting people back to work and providing a multitude of clear public benefits.

Certainly, COVID-19 is the most serious threat our nation and our world has faced in many years, and Congress must continue to combat the virus and its impact on our healthcare system and vulnerable populations. But in the midst of this crisis, addressing our natural resources and outdoor recreation infrastructure is also of particular relevance, as so many Americans seek renewal and reconnection on public lands and waters. The current economic situation seems well-suited for committing to America’s outdoor resources and the jobs they can create.

Support these priorities by taking action HERE.

 

Top photo of a fish-friendly culvert project by Washington State Department of Transportation via flickr.

46 Responses to “Congress Could Put Americans Back to Work Through Conservation”

  1. Wesley Ramsey

    Totally agree with the premise of this article, but not optimistic because conservation and the environment are at the top of the current administrations’s hit list.

  2. I believe in investing in conserving our parks and wild places. However, if you believe this is important too, it shouldn’t be all volunteer. Just as teachers and mechanic are paid for taking care so should conservationists be paid fairly for their contribution. I’m here. I’m trained. I’m ready and willing to get to work.

  3. A very good plan to rebuild America & in the spirit of Theodore Roosevelt..

    When Theodore & our congressmen accomplished so much for our country.. I’m cautiously optimistic our
    Executive branch & Congress may rise to the challenge….

  4. Margaret

    I’m 61 and almost 50 years ago had summer jobs working for the YCC ( Youth Conservation Corp) doing something of the things mentioned here. Sounds like an excellent idea. A win win for people and environment!

  5. Cindy Skrukrud

    Under the category Specific Line Items That Advance Conservation on a Landscape Scale, I’d add to implement the North American Monarch Recovery Plan. We need to be planting millions of milkweed along with other native nectar plants for pollinators. Let train a bunch of landscapers to transform our road and utility rights-of-way into habitat.

  6. Rick Topper

    Laudable, but misguided, IMO. Given that we’re in the middle of the sixth great extinction, the opportunity cost of a conservation effort is simply too great. With the entire economy irrevocably reshuffled, why treat the branch when we can address the root cause of species loss? Coronavirus-triggered job loss constitutes a once-in-a-generation opportunity to recast our energy infrastructure–generation, transmission, distribution, *and* storage–as a wind- and solar-based system. A federal REC (Renewable Energy Corps) would do more for conservation–and dozens of other human-made and natural systems on the brink of collapse–than any comparable effort.

    • Carolyn Richardson

      I agree with Rick Topper. “…. why treat the branch when we can address the root cause of species loss? Coronavirus-triggered job loss constitutes a once-in-a-generation opportunity to recast our energy infrastructure–generation, transmission, distribution, *and* storage–as a wind- and solar-based system.” The Covid19 mandated shut down of mans activity and effect on the Earth as graphically demonstrated how quickly the Earth can begin to heal without the constant flow of toxins. A federal REC (Renewable Energy Corps) would create green jobs which would address both the ecology/climate change AND the economy.

    • Wind and solar are not conservation minded adventures for our energy needs. Both require the bull dozing of thousands of acres of habitat to construct. Wind powered generators kills thousands of bird every year with the bulk of those being key raptor species including the endangered variety. With solar be it panels or the mirrors, the habitat is destroyed to build them and they have also killed thousands of bird. Waterfowl have landed at their locations in the desert to only die and birds have been cooked alive in the concentrated light of the mirrors from solar. They are not as environmentally friendly as people claim.

    • Peter

      I agree with the push to go to renewable. This is an essential direction, for the environment, for national security, and for the prosperity of future generations.
      All new development must be net-zero. This is doable.
      The fundamental issue is economic. We live in a petroleum based economy. We do not value ecology.
      These changes would represent a tectonic shift from the world we currently live in. There is money for defense, but little for the continued development and expansion of renewable energy.
      Energy storage is another area which merit investment, I.e. it is easy to go solar, but hard to get off the grid.
      For my part, I will live my life moving in the direction of ecology and renewable.

  7. These are great suggestions for economic stimulus benefitting public recreation and environmental restoration. I point out that NOAA’s Restoration Center is a stalwart in implementing large scale coastal and riverine restoration projects throughout the coastal U.S. including the Great Lakes. We have technical experts throughout our regions participating in strong partnerships with states, municipalities, NGOs and other federal agencies to complete vital restoration and resilience projects. Our successes are many: $176M through ARRA to complete 50 priority projects throughout the Country, and we manage fund awards to partners each year since 1996. We are a key partner to getting work done!

  8. Dan Paashaus

    I think this makes sense, but would add infrastructure or support of the?railroad…both passenger and freight since it is cost saving and saved on trucks, cars on road

  9. Ramon Perez Castillo

    Regardless of what this administration thinks about environmental issues, this plan need to pass. This is a win win for nature areas, communities and small businesses.

  10. Awesome! We need people focused on conservation as never before. Would happily come out of retirerment to help get this effort launched. There are silent, slow biological hazards multipling daily in America. These biohazards loom much larger than COVID. Humans evolved to respond to imediate danger. A pandemic makes us all change quickly. Invasive species goes unoticed and unchecked as profound extiontion and human losses pile up. These plants and animals move slowly enough that we experience them as invisible and unimportant. This perspective needs to radically change now. The change will come through education and active participation in conservation efforts.

  11. Carol Jenkins

    I agree with Rick Topper about a Federal Renewable Energy Corps–it could be our age’s WPA. As for the paid conservation efforts, they now would have to benefit the homeless, prisoners, immigrants, aged out foster children, veterans and all needy people because the virus is the enemy which people must unite against for the next several years. Efforts are laudable, especially if the latest and most practical in COVID 19 health testing, remediation & prevention comes to the needy, and if the foreseen effect is something the Sierra Club would have approved in better, pre-Coronavirus times. When a family friend, a fire department retired administrator , decades ago, offered me a (possibly Conservation Corps) job marking prisoner attendance on a forestry worksite, I felt I wasn’t the right candidate to apply for the job. It’s one example, though, of a lot of good programs that existed before. If they were scrapped, they could be restored. If they weren’t scrapped, they could be good objects of relief bills.

  12. Birbal Chungkham

    I believe the plan is like national rejuvenation. Our human creativity is from natural diversity. Conservation effort will bring deeper understanding of forms and facts of nature conducive to enhancing our creativity.

  13. Bill Simmons

    People are not learning to live with nature, farming, horticulture in general; as well as themselves, and one another. The maker of all has provided us with the miracles of the earth and outdoors. The Appalachian Trail, conceived by obscure Benton McKaye in 1921 is now 100 years old and needs a boost all across America. Many countries in Europe are laced everywhere with beautiful nature trails, why cannot America be? Big cars and trucks with huge engines have separated us from the earth and sky…. and our humanity and each other.

  14. phyllis babila

    4/29/2020 PUT the homeless to work! pay min. wage they want to do something/learn… CLEAN, FIX our freeways, roads, empty lots, rivers ALL needs CLEANING & FIXING… USE the man power …..

  15. Lisa Willott

    I’ve been telling everyone about this idea and others, like repairing and building the nation’s roads and much needed infrastructure, ever since this pandemic became a reality. Someone in charge in the government with real vision about truly helping our nation recover by giving many people a renewed sense of purpose (as well as a paying job) should mull this idea over seriously!

  16. michael gondell

    Very heartening to hear all these wonderful ideas but more importantly the CAN DO SPIRIT epitomized by TR himself. Determining which ideas are the best and feasible, I will leave to others but so good to hear concrete ideas that tie fundamental conservation values that have developed over past 150 years (that are being decimated by this
    administration) and a healthy economy for the future. Very encouraging and we will surely need this.

  17. Ruth Ann Schmitt

    The CCC was brilliant and extremely effective for those individuals enrolled, their families and the nation. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court nixed it and it’s hard to believe the current court would allow a similaire program.

  18. Mary Dellavalle

    One of the best things that ever happened to me was the Young Adults Conservation Corp. is Southeast Alaska. I would much rather see my tax dollars go towards conservation work than for unemployment benefits for people who are stuck at home. Additionally, Restoration and protection of wildlife refuges and other breeding grounds are critical for ensuring that we will have wildlife in the long run.

  19. Carolyn Richardson

    I agree with Rick Topper, “….why treat the branch when you can address the root cause?…….. Coronavirus-triggered job loss constitutes a once-in-a-generation opportunity to recast our energy infrastructure–generation, transmission, distribution, *and* storage–as a wind- and solar-based system.” This Covid19 mandated halt to man’s activity and impact on the Earth had graphically demonstrated how quickly the Earth can begin healing when the constant flow of toxins is shut off. This is the perfect time to build on this progress towards “saving the Earth”, (even if it has been involuntary). Any recovery for the economy should capitalize on this message from Nature that “it is obviously possible to make a difference against climate change.” Creating green jobs would address the environment and the economy at the same time.

  20. Anita saunders

    Of course this is a good plan. Many millions over the generations have relied on “home” projects to earn a salary for restoring, repairing and building our country’s physical existence. Think the interstate, the railroads, Red Rocks, the Grand Canyon and the national parks and on and on. All the work of Americans working for decent income and benefits to take good care of their own and their home.
    Let us do it NOW. We don’t need meetings and debates…just a clear look at history and determination.

  21. William Jokela

    In 1933 my dad worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps in Michigan reforesting the lands that had been harvested by the timber industry. He said that he was paid a dollar a day. He kept $5 to buy stationery, stamps and shaving gear. The rest he sent home every month to help his family. I think the people were volunteers but they were paid.

  22. Lois Denaut

    In America, there are a lot of projects that the Federal Government could finance and put unemployed people back to work right away. Our infrastructure-road, highways, bridges, dams, rivers, lakes, sea ports, electrical grid, schools, hospitals, etc. We have Americans that have no access to water or electricity or WiFi (Native Americans, Poor Neighborhoods, etc.) But, will this President want to improve the lives of poor people, Native Americans, etc.? Maybe, if the contracts for these many projects are awarded to the President’s Family, Friends, Campaign Donors, the President may consider approving these Federal Projects that would improve our environment, people’s day to day lives, etc.

  23. Joe Franke

    The language of this article seems bizarrely abstruse. Perhaps I’m reading this wrong, but whatever “conservation” value and job generation seems to be submerged in language emphasizing road building (which other than rural road maintenance we don’t necessarily need more of) an in “recreation”, rather than the preservation of natural capital for its own sake and for the benefit to the biosphere, of which humans are a part. We also need direct job creation, not more money thrown at businesses, contractors, etc., much of which is mired in political connections and nepotism, at least here in New Mexico.

  24. JEANETTE FERL

    I HAD TWO GREAT UNCLES THAT WORKRD ON THE CCC DURING THE DEPRESSION; THEY WOULD PROUD OF THE WORK THAT ACCOMPLISHED & AND THANKFUL TO HAVE IT.!!!

    • Georgette Larrouy

      Of course this is what we should do for people who have lost their jobs. We should have done this 2 months ago. We would help out country, help mitigate the climate crisis, and provide meaningful and dignified work to those in need.Of course this administration can’t think past blame and hatred to actually help America. What a waste! Look to what has been done in the past and learn something!

  25. Melissa Elliott

    This proposal is the best argument I have seen for voting Democrat in the November election. The current president wouldn’t dream of putting his $$$ at risk by undercutting all his good buddies in coal, oil, etc. and has already opened national monuments to drilling, frakking, etc. Vote for a president who has a TEAM, who will take all of the damage into account and find the right people to get this done.

    I also think individual incentives could be offered on bigger than a city-wide scale for people who are willing to remake their yards to serve pollinators instead of lawn mowers and leaf blowers, and that we should look at all of our rights of way as habitat, as another person suggested above, and transform them.

  26. There are many infrastructure projects, community work, and beautification projects that could be investments in people to stimulate the larger economy as long as these jobs are a working part of the economy and not so low of a wage that one is simply able to pay basic rent and eat cheap food.

Do you have any thoughts on this post?

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Reading Recommendations for Stuck-at-Home Sportsmen and Women

A handful of page-turners to keep hunters and anglers entertained and educated

Perhaps not surprisingly, given his well-known curiosity and his own accomplishments as a writer, Theodore Roosevelt was a voracious reader. He often juggled several books at once, covering wide-ranging subjects, and commonly recommended or sent books to friends and acquaintances.

With more time at home than usual, many Americans are finding time to catch up on the reading that can seem difficult to fit into everyday life. So we reached out to staff, board members, and friends of TRCP for suggestions on what books sportsmen and women might enjoy during these strange times.

Here are their recommendations:

I am reading Walter Stahr’s Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man, a detailed biography of the disheveled man from Auburn, New York, who would be President Lincoln’s right hand throughout the depths of the Civil War, and would go on to serve as Secretary of State for another three years after Lincoln’s death. Of course, we have Seward to thank for the acquisition of Alaska from Russia, often referred to as ‘Seward’s Folly.”

Steve Kline, chief policy officer, TRCP

To be fair, it was the film adaptation of A River Runs Through It that inspired so many people, including me, to pick up a fly rod for the first time. But Maclean’s prose deserves all of the credit. The writing is, at times, impossibly beautiful and feels effortless—much like a perfect fly cast. And the final sentence will stay with you, always.

Colin Kearns, editor-in-chief, Field & Stream

Butcher’s Crossing: A Novel by John Williams tells the story of a buffalo hunt in the 1870s. The conservation movement was driven in part by the slaughter of animals in the second half of the 19th century enabled by improved firearms, improved transportation, and a growing population. This realistic novel of a late buffalo hunt curled my hair.

John Griffin, TRCP Board of Directors

I would recommend Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing, about the failed attempt to cross Antarctica in 1914. It is a really good read about leading through challenge – and a cool historical story.

Becky Humphries, chief executive officer, National Wild Turkey Federation

I’m currently reading the novel A Gentleman in Moscow, which was a wedding gift last year from a mentor in the outdoor industry. It’s entirely different from what I’m usually reading, but now is the perfect time to dive into some fiction that takes place in a world far away. It’s a charming story that really takes me out of the day-to-day and I appreciate how little it relates to what I spend most of my time thinking and worrying about. Now is definitely the time for all my non-fiction lovers to pick up a good novel!

Jessica Wahl, executive director, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable

Fishing Through the Apocalypse by Matthew Miller: Writer and conservationist Matthew Miller manages to write a series of stories about the dire situation for fish in this country, while also making the reader feel hopeful. Each one is full of valuable insight and information packaged together as entertaining fishing stories. If you need a watery escape, pick this one up.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald: This novel is part a story about overcoming grief and largely a story about hawks, hunting and a human’s connection to the wild. It’s also a pure joy to read. Her sentences, paragraphs, pages and chapters read like music, even as that music describes a hawk eviscerating a rabbit.

Christine Peterson, journalist and vice president of the Outdoor Writers Association of America

The one I’m reading now is The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan, a fascinating account of how we have abused the Great Lakes. It is a good read and also provides hope if we chose to undo, or at least not repeat, some of the mistakes of the past.

Whit Fosburgh, president and chief executive officer, TRCP

 

 

While we were at it, we asked our TRCP membership what books should be on the shelf of every conservationist. The top choices were, as follows:

A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold (1939)

“If you want to read a single book that speaks to the foundations of wildlife ecology and management in the United States, this is the one.”–Dave Hays, Boise, ID

Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley (2010)

“One of the best books I’ve read on Teddy Roosevelt’s fight to establish the public lands that we hold dear and his uncompromising values regarding the great outdoors and his passion for fair chase hunting.”–Gary Payeur, Florissant, MO

American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon by Steven Rinella (2008)

“The book does a fantastic job describing the history of the buffalo in North America. The story is all told in parallel to the author pursuing this wonderful game animal. Once the history is told and a buffalo is in the meat is packed out, the author describes the future of the animal and how we can continue to help preserve it going forward.”–Zachary Denton, Peawaukee, WI

The Old Man and the Boy by Robert Ruark (1957)

“This is a book on raising a child to appreciate the outdoors, hunting, and becoming a sportsman, told in an incredibly poignant and humorous way.”–Glen Carlson, Silverdale, WA

That Wild Country: An Epic Journey through the Past, Present, and Future of America’s Public Lands by Mark Kenyon (2019)

“Best book I’ve ever read about public lands. Kenyon does an extraordinary job weaving his personal storytelling with the history, current status, and future of public lands. It is motivating and awe-inspiring.”–Garrett Miller, Butler, PA

 

And the Honorable Mentions:

Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West by Wallace Stegner (1954)

The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan (2009)

Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness by Edward Abbey (1968)

Goodbye to a River by John Graves (1960)

The Invention of Nature: Alexander Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf (2015)

The Overstory: A Novel by Richard Powers (2018)

The Everglades: River of Grass by Marjory Stoneman Douglas (1947)

Salmon Without Rivers: A History of the Pacific Salmon Crisis by Jim Lichatowich (1999)

The Tenth Legion by Col. Tom Kelly (1973)

 

If you’re looking to pick up one of these titles, be sure to click through to our AmazonSmile page so that a percentage of your purchase is donated to the TRCP. Happy reading!

Cory Deal

by:

posted in: Outdoor Economy

April 10, 2020

Conservation Partners Jump “In The Arena” To Help Those in Need

Industry leaders spearhead efforts to combat COVID-19

We’ve said it before, but it’s always worth repeating: the TRCP is proud to have the support of some true leaders in the business world, who time and time again step up on behalf of fish, wildlife, and outdoor opportunities for all Americans. And in recent weeks, as COVID-19 has upended everyday life around this country, we’re prouder than ever of our corporate partners for their generosity and commitment to the greater good.

With many retail stores barred to entry and factory production rates slowing or halted, members of our corporate community are lending their resources to the fight. From retrofitting factories to restocking food bank shelves, these companies are committing their time, money, and production equipment to help us get through this difficult time.

As Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” By taking action when it is needed most, here’s how the companies below* are taking care of those in need and setting an example for the rest of us.

Coca-Cola

The beverage company’s Atlanta-based factory has teamed up with Georgia Tech University to produce more than 50,000 plastic surgical shields that will be distributed to local hospitals and health care workers.

L.L. Bean

Founded in 1912 by its namesake, outdoorsman Leon Leonwood Bean, this New England institution is using experience gained over the last 100+ years of producing outdoors gear to create protective masks. The company is working with MaineHealth and Intermed and has plans to use its existing supply chain team to create and distribute 1 million masks. The company is also working with local food banks and using its distribution center to restock shelves for families in need.

Mystery Ranch

In an effort to help local medical facilities, Bozeman-based Mystery Ranch is using the antimicrobial and breathable fabric used in their backpacks to produce much-needed personal protective equipment for frontline workers. Along with the time of its expert employees and the use of its sewing facilities, the industry-leading pack manufacturer has also contributed additional materials from its stock to others in the community with the capacity to manufacture extra masks.

NEMO Equipment

This outdoor equipment company is encouraging individuals to recreate responsibly while enjoying the open air through a series of posts on outdoor activities that you can enjoy near your home and a photo challenge. This Instagram-based competition is calling on those who love the outdoors to highlight the creative ways they’re enjoying outdoor spaces while practicing safe social distancing through photos. In addition, NEMO is publishing a series of blogs with ideas for close-to-home adventures to help outdoor enthusiasts alleviate their cabin fever responsibly.

Orvis

Known for its high-quality fishing gear, this company has partnered with organizations near its Roanoke, VA fulfillment center to produce 2,000 cloth face coverings per week. These non-medical-grade masks will be distributed to those experiencing homelessness in the are and will help protect this particularly vulnerable population.

Outdoor Research

Drawing on almost its nearly 40-year history of forward-thinking innovation, Outdoor Research’s Seattle factory will be converted to produce N95 surgical masks, respirators, and other personal protective equipment to help address the increased need for these essential medical supplies.

Patagonia

Despite closing operations early in the outbreak to protect workers, Patagonia has committed to providing employees with regular pay throughout the crisis in an effort to protect the communities it serves. The company also has staff reaching out to nonprofits and offering volunteer services to support their operations.

Peak Design

This environmentally-focused design company is utilizing the launch of its latest product to provide coronavirus relief and help fight climate change with a commitment to donate 100% of profits earned from the first four days (4/7-4/11) that their Travel Tripod is on sale to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation.

REI

Despite closing the doors of its 162 retail stores, this outdoor retailer has committed to pay all store employees through April 14th in a letter from the company president and CEO. The company has also made the decision to keep online stores open and is offering free shipping to support those looking for outdoor recreation opportunities while social distancing.

Simms Fishing Products

This pillar of the fishing community is “wading” into the fight against COVID-19 and partnering with Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital. The fishing products company is using Gore-Tex—a material traditionally employed in the production of their popular waterproof waders—to produce more than 1,500 medical-grade gowns per week.

Vista Outdoors

Despite uncertainty, Vista Outdoors has committed to expand its support for non-profit organizations through partnerships and brand-level support. Federal Ammunition–a company under the umbrella of Vista–has also donated multiple cases of N-95 face masks to health care facilities.

*Editor’s Note: We tried to find as many of these stories as we could, but the above list is not comprehensive. Similar efforts we might have overlooked will be added to the list as time allows. Let us know in the comments below of any other hunting and fishing brands stepping up in the fight against COVID-19.

Whit Fosburgh

March 27, 2020

Seven Ways to Do Social Distancing Like a Sportsman or Woman

Families all over the world are experiencing serious life impacts due to COVID-19. Aside from health impacts, businesses are closing, travel is banned, schools are being moved to virtual classrooms, and many people are afraid.

So what can you do to make the most of this difficult time? First, you must follow all health advice and wash your hands, abide by social distancing rules, and take this seriously to protect you and your loved ones.

But here are seven other suggestions for making the most of this unexpected off-season from, well, everything.

Pick Up Your Laptop or Letterhead

Now is the time to write your member of Congress on the key policy issues that will make a difference when you get back outside. Whether it’s passing the Great American Outdoors Act, digitizing public access routes, or preserving migration corridors, we’re here to help you get your message in the right hands.

Check out our one-stop advocacy shop here.

Get Out and Scout

Malls, bars, and restaurants may be closed. Concerts canceled and museums shuttered. But fear not: Now is the perfect chance to get outside and scout. Look for deer sign from last year and plot your next hunt. Listen for gobblers. Look for late season sheds. Explore that tributary you’ve always been curious about but have never fished. You’re away from the crowds, getting good exercise, and advancing your skills in the woods. (If you do encounter others, say, on our public lands, maintain six feet of distance, per CDC recommendations.)

Practice, Practice, Practice

Can’t get to the range? This is a great time to set up a target in the backyard and practice your archery skills (or, if you live in very rural areas, your rifle skills). Break out the fly rod and a hula hoop and practice your casting. You may be surprised how much you can improve.

Feed a Family

This is a good time to sort through your freezer and donate your harvest or catch to the local food bank. There are many families in need right now, so if you have extra, be generous and make sure we’re all doing our part to help our neighbors.

Photo by Dave Shea via flickr.
Try a New Wild Game Recipe

That bag of venison labeled “sausage”? Those snow goose breasts? Take a risk, and try a new dish. We recommend checking out MeatEater’s recipe log for something like venison fennel lasagna or rabbit schnitzel.

Reload, Repair, and Tie

For those of you who load your own ammunition, this is a great time to get ahead. Refinishing a stock that’s taken a beating over the years? Do it now. And with trout season around the corner, it’s time to replenish your fly box. Even if you’ve never tied a fly and always been curious, why not start now? YouTube is waiting.

Read

Hunting and fishing have always inspired great writing. From Theodore Roosevelt’s many volumes on hunting to Norman Maclean’s classic prose on fishing and life in A River Runs through It, catch up on classics. Or try something new, like Mark Kenyon’s exploration of our public lands in That Wild Country.

 

Top photo by Lisa Gleason/BLM via flickr.

Marnee Banks

March 9, 2020

Virginia Governor Signs Legislation to Strengthen Menhaden Conservation

Recreational fishing and boating groups applaud new bipartisan law

Following vocal support from recreational fishermen, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a bipartisan bill improving menhaden management in the Atlantic.

The legislation transfers management authority of Atlantic menhaden—a small oily baitfish that feeds sportfish like striped bass—to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, which oversees every other saltwater fishery in the Commonwealth.  Now that the bill has been signed into law, the legislation puts Virginia on a path toward compliance with the regional fishery management plan, which Omega Protein violated last year.

“This new law will pave the way for stronger management of the Atlantic menhaden recognizing its critical role in the entire marine ecosystem and its benefits to the recreational fishing economy,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “We want to thank Governor Northam, the bill sponsors, Natural Resources Secretary Matt Strickler, and the recreational fishing sector for working together on this legislation.”

“There is a growing need for more robust conservation practices in our fisheries – including menhaden and all forage fish – this law is an important step towards better recognizing and correcting the harmful impacts overfishing can have on our communities,” said Nicole Vasilaros, senior vice president of government and legal affairs for the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “Protecting forage fish and sportfish stocks is essential for recreational activities in the Chesapeake Bay and across the country and we thank Governor Northam for taking action to that ensure our marine ecosystems remain healthy for generations to come.”

“Thanks to the signature of Governor Northam, menhaden will now be managed by fisheries experts at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission,” said Mike Leonard, vice president of government affairs for the American Sportfishing Association. “Adequate menhaden populations are key to striped bass and other sportfish that support Virginia’s $583,806,000 saltwater recreational fishing economy. This important shift in management authority will help ensure a future of science-based management of menhaden that accounts for their important role in the ecosystem.”

“This commonsense legislation will help fisheries in not just Virginia, but along the entire Atlantic Coast,” said Chris Edmonstron, vice president of government affairs for Boat US.  “Anglers and boaters should all applaud this long overdue change in fisheries management and encourage more science-based management practices be developed and implemented. BoatU.S., along with our 28,000 Virginia members, applaud the passage of this legislation.”

“This decision by Governor Northam and the Virginia General Assembly, which was decades in the making, recognizes the importance of science-backed conservation efforts in maintaining the health of our nation’s fisheries,” said Adam Fortier-Brown, government relations manager for the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas.  “Having menhaden fisheries managed by the Virginia Marine Resource Commission, like all other fisheries in the state, will make significant steps towards creating a healthier Chesapeake Bay.  We thank the assembly, and Governor Northam for their leadership on this legislation, which will be felt by boaters and anglers all along the Atlantic coast for years to come.”

“On behalf of the Virginia Saltwater Sportsman’s Association and striped bass fishermen everywhere, I would like to thank Governor Northam and his administration, especially Natural Resources Secretary Matt Strickler, for leading the fight to conserve menhaden,” said John Bello, chairman of the Virginia Saltwater Sportfishing Association Government Relations Committee.  “Menhaden are far too valuable to the ecosystem and to the recreational fishing economy to allow one foreign company to continue sucking up hundreds of millions of forage fish per year.  Thank you, Governor.”

For more information about menhaden conservation click HERE.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

WHAT WILL FEWER HUNTERS MEAN FOR CONSERVATION?

The precipitous drop in hunter participation should be a call to action for all sportsmen and women, because it will have a significant ripple effect on key conservation funding models.

Learn More
Subscribe

You have Successfully Subscribed!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

You have Successfully Subscribed!