Why I’m on the steering committee:
Personally, I am worried about access to public lands for my children. Professionally, I am worried that my members cannot do their work of introducing outdoor activities to 18-24-year old at a critical time in their life if they don’t have access to public lands. I am so honored to work with this committee, and I am in awe with the capacity and professionalism each steering committee member possess. To be able to work as a group that has differences of opinions AND stakeholders to serve to address thorny national level issues has been incredible. The contributions in conversation, in the development of one pager for visits to the Hill, for responses to USFS response periods, calls to activation, and updates on legislation that effects AORE members is something that AORE can’t do singlehandedly. I have personally enjoyed working with different sectors – conservation, non-profit, for-profit and the USFS. It allows me to see various perspectives and process to make positive change.
As individual guides, leaders, and educators, we each have a small voice in how we access and use public lands. We hope to share with our participants a positive experience, achieve an objective, or instill a sense of wonder in the special places that make up our nation’s wild lands. However, communicating our needs to those charged with creating the policies of how we access those lands can be challenging with that small voice. The impact of that challenge may be that a group of students does not have a classroom to learn about river ecology on a rafting trip, to practice teamwork and leadership on a high mountain backpacking excursion, or to assess risk during a ski tour.
Being involved in the Coalition for Outdoor Access (COA) joins the voice of AORE members with many others who share the same purpose of educating young people before the backdrop of the outdoors. The work of COA helps ensure that outdoor programmers and educators have seat at the table to provide their perspective, and to ultimately support access to public lands for their students and participants.