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Jeremy Oyen

Why I’m on the Steering committee:
I believe that access to public lands is critical to the health and wellness of our society. Working together with representatives from across the country, representing varied stakeholder groups, we have come together to foster a combined effort to ensure that access to public lands is available to everyone. Improving the permitting system will help address access issues for those looking to participate in facilitated outdoor recreation (guided opportunities) and those looking to go-it on their own.

Jeremy currently works as the Field Operations Manager for REI Experiences, which delivers outdoor experiences and education to over 350,000 people annually through REI locations and in parks, forests, and public lands around the country. At REI, we believe that a life outdoors is a life well lived and we aspire to help all American’s have access to the outdoors, from local parks to the iconic wildernesses. We do this through providing fun, educational, community-oriented experiences that make it easy to get outside by providing professional guides, gear, and access to great public lands. Our work also includes collaborating with vendor outfitters and over 300 nonprofit organizations around the country, helping further facilitate access to the outdoors.

Stakeholder group:
REI Co-op Experiences represents large national outfitters on the COA steering committee, while also understanding the challenges of smaller outfitters, who are often our vendors in various regions of the country. Larger outfitters tend to have an advantage in the permitting system because they have more resources to dedicate to tracking down and managing permits. Outfitters that have been operating for a long time, tend to have priority when it comes to renewal or expansion of their permits. Since permits are one of the most important aspects of running a guide and outfitting business, it is important for all outfitters (large or small) to have a voice and to partner together to solve our collective challenges. Our goal is not to carve out slices of a limited pie of user days for more groups, but rather to make a bigger pie – managing use better and allowing a variety of users (large, small, volunteer, NGOs, etc.) to have access to our public lands. Large outfitters can be resources to smaller organizations by sharing knowledge and helping guide them in a complex permitting process. In addition, larger outfitters can give back to the lands by providing stewardship and partnership. Fundamentally, REI is a part of this coalition because we believe that change at the federal level requires a strong, diverse group of organizations that can speak to Congress about the needs of the outfitting community broadly.