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Ore. Businesses in DC Pushing for Public Lands Before Lame Duck Ends

The outdoor recreation economy generates $16.4 billion in consumer spending annually in Oregon. (Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Mgmt.)
The outdoor recreation economy generates $16.4 billion in consumer spending annually in Oregon. (Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Mgmt.)
November 29, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. – Business owners are in the nation's capital today, urging members of Congress to protect more public lands before the lame-duck session ends.

Members of the Conservation Alliance, outdoor businesses that advocate for public lands, are meeting with lawmakers in an effort to get several bills passed.

That includes the Oregon Wildlands Act, which would protect more parts of the Chetco, Mollala and Rogue rivers and Devil's Staircase.

In D.C. on behalf of Portland-based footwear company KEEN, Chief Marketing Officer Tyler LaMotte said his company makes products to help people enjoy these lands.

As LaMotte put it, "We feel that, as a brand, we definitely have a duty to work with the alliance and take action on behalf of our fans and our customers to protect these places in perpetuity, so we can keep doing what we love to do – getting more people outside, and getting them to care about wild places."

There are 35 Oregon businesses in the 220-member Conservation Alliance.

The Oregon Wildlands Act would designate more than 90,000 acres as wilderness and add 250 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers protections.

Outdoor recreation is a major boon to Oregon's economy. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, the state's recreation economy annually generates $16.4 billion in consumer spending, 172,000 jobs and $749 million in state and local taxes.

LaMotte said he and his colleagues in the alliance will make sure members of Congress understand this is a $900 billion industry nationally.

"That's a huge contributor to the overall economic sector," he stressed. "And so, we're going to come there with muscle, and with facts and figures, and make sure that the case is heard – and really try to give no reason for this not going through, from our point of view."

Public-lands advocates are pushing for lawmakers to add protections before the 116th Congress is sworn in on Jan. 3, 2019.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR