Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 24

Feature .01
ible way to address multiple challenges all at
the same time-climate change, wildfire risk,
unemployment.
The bill includes about $2 billion of relief
funds for outfitters and guides. These are individuals
and companies who hold U.S. Forest
Service or Department of Interior special use
permits, so being able to ensure that they have
that seed capital to assist, given the massive
losses they sustained during the course of the
pandemic, is really important and an important
component of this proposal.
COLORADO'S 2ND IS A MAJOR HUB FOR THE OUTDOOR
INDUSTRY, AND A FEW YEARS AGO, THE
OUTDOOR RETAILER SHOW MOVED TO COLORADO
BECAUSE THIS IS A PLACE WHERE ELECTED OFFICIALS
LIKE YOU ARE FIGHTING ON BEHALF OF THE
INDUSTRY AND THE PUBLIC LANDS IT DEFENDS. ARE
THOSE KINDS OF ACTIONS FROM PRIVATE ENTERPRISES
IMPORTANT FOR SENDING MESSAGES TO
PEOPLE WHO CREATE POLICY LIKE YOURSELF?
Oh, they're very important. And of course
we were thrilled that the Show moved to
Colorado. I had a chance to go and speak to
folks at the Show a few years back. I think it's
reflective of our state's commitment to sustainability
and to preserving and protecting
our public lands, and ultimately ensuring that
these public lands remain in public hands and
remain in public trust for the next generation
to enjoy. And I'm grateful that we have a robust
industry in the outdoor recreation industry
that is supportive of those same goals.
ARE YOU STILL LOOKING FOR A REPUBLICAN COSPONSOR
FOR THE SHRED ACT?
We just found one! Rep. Doug LaMalfa
(R-California). (Rep. Ann Custer, D-New
Hampshire, and Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah,
have since introduced the bill.) And then we
have Sen. (Michael) Bennet (D-Colorado) in
the Senate. (Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming,
has since joined as well.)
DID THIS BILL COME ABOUT BECAUSE YOU WERE
HEARING FROM CONSTITUENTS ABOUT CROWDED
TRAILS AND NOT ENOUGH RESOURCES IN NATIONAL
FORESTS WHEN THE PANDEMIC STARTED?
It was a combination. The bill was something
that has been in the works for quite some time.
We've heard from various outdoor recreation
businesses, and the industry more broadly,
about the need for reforms in terms of the
forest service's ability and capacity to be able
24 OUTDOOR RETAILER / July 2021
to approve projects, and the backlog of work
that remains-from some of the smallest ski
operators to some of the largest ones. And of
course the ancillary need from a recreation
perspective for the forest service to have the resources
it needs to do important work for local
communities like Summit County and Eagle
County. So this measure, by bringing those
ski fee dollars from Washington back home to
the West, so both the forest service here locally
and, by extension, the communities locally
can put those dollars to good use is a win-win.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN AN ENVIRONMENTALIST?
I think every Coloradan has their own
story about how they first connected with
the outdoors in a significant way. For me, I
was born in Bakersfield, California, and we
moved to Colorado when I was 5 years old,
and I never left.
I can remember at a very early age going to
Rocky Mountain National Park with my dad
and hiking and being in awe of the massive
mountains and nature, wilderness in its most
basic form. For me, those memories are memories
I treasure, and now the ability to build those
same memories with my daughter, it's something
special, I think. And I suspect it's not a particularly
uncommon story because I think every
Coloradan has their own version of that, whether
it's river rafting with their friends or going up
with their family to ski for the first time at Copper
Mountain-it runs the gamut. My family has always
been enamored, as I think every Coloradan
is, with our beautiful outdoors, and of course
now I'm privileged to have the opportunity to
do my small part in preserving the outdoors so
my daughter and her children and her children's
children can enjoy those same wild places.
CONTROVERSIAL QUESTION: ARE YOU GOING TO
TEACH YOUR DAUGHTER TO SKI OR TO SNOWBOARD?
Ah, I ski and my wife snowboards, so I suspect
it's going to be snowboarding. (He laughs.) I
think my wife is going to win that argument.
WELL, YOUR DAUGHTER MIGHT HAVE AN OPINION
ABOUT THAT TOO.
That's also true! I think we'll let her decide.
She'll probably follow what her mom does.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO UNWIND WHEN
YOU COME HOME FROM WASHINGTON?
I want to keep the places I enjoy the most as
private as possible!
AH, YOU DON'T WANT TO SHARE YOUR SPOTS! I DON'T
BLAME YOU, IT IS CROWDED AROUND HERE.
Well, you live in Boulder County so you know
it well. Boulder County over many years has
made a critical investment in preserving its
open space, and as a result, you have some of
the best trails in the country.
We live in Lafayette, and there are a number
of trails we take locally with our daughter and
our dog, Teddy, just to walk. In terms of bigger
hikes, Indian Peaks Wilderness is just an incredible
place.
We don't get on the slopes as much as we'd
like, given my travel schedule to Washington,
but we love skiing at Vail or Breck, and my wife
and I got married at Copper.
WITH CLIMATE CHANGE, WHAT'S KEEPING YOU UP AT
NIGHT THAT YOU WISH YOU COULD LEGISLATE
TOMORROW, IMMEDIATELY, IF YOU HAD THE
OPPORTUNITY?
I guess the part that keeps me up at night, and
certainly what frustrates me the most, is that
the answers to these questions are fairly apparent;
they're straightforward. We know what we
need to do to meet the goals in the IPCC report.
We know what we need to do from a resiliency
and mitigation perspective so that we're prepared
the next time a wildfire begins to blaze.
In my view, there's not much debate about the
solutions. There's generally a consensus, certainly
scientific consensus, about what we need
to do to solve these very consequential challenges.
What we lack, unfortunately, is political will
to accomplish it. So I think that's the part that
frustrates me because there are other challenges
that we face as a country or as a society where
the answer is not quite clear-we're still debating,
what are the right policy levers to solve that
problem? That really is not the case when it
comes to climate.
We know how to solve it, but the political
leadership has been unwilling to do what is
necessary. So that's what keeps me up at night.
When you've already reached a consensus and
folks lack the political will to do what is necessary,
that doesn't bode well for the future.
At the same time, I draw inspiration from
the fact that, in local communities, where that
same consensus exists, the political will exists
also, and there's substantial progress being
made, in terms of states and cities and tribes.
So let's hope that Washington can follow their
lead. And I'm going to try to implore my colleagues
to do just that. O.R.

Outdoor Retailer - July 2021

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