News Items - Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education
AORE Attends Inaugural Risk Management in Outdoor Recreation Roundtable
Over the course of two days in late April, in Washington, DC, 30 stakeholders from the outdoor recreation industry and from federal agencies involved in connecting people with America’s public lands convened a roundtable discussion to share knowledge, explore concepts, and build partnerships in the spirit of understanding the inherent risks of outdoor activities and imparting lessons from experience onto the recreating public, especially targeted groups that may not have experience with remote, backcountry, outdoor recreation.

Over the course of two days in late April, in Washington, DC, 30 stakeholders from the outdoor recreation industry and from federal agencies involved in connecting people with America’s public lands convened a roundtable discussion to share knowledge, explore concepts, and build partnerships in the spirit of understanding the inherent risks of outdoor activities and imparting lessons from experience onto the recreating public, especially targeted groups that may not have experience with remote, backcountry, outdoor recreation.

Participants included representatives from the National Outdoor Leadership School, Outward Bound, the Student Conservation Association, Northwest Conservation Corps, the National Park Service, legal and insurance professions, the Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, the US Coast Guard, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, REI, the Association for Outdoor Recreation and Education, The Wilderness Society, and the guiding and outfitting industry.

With an eye toward establishing some tangible next steps, the roundtable spent its first day learning about differing perspectives on risk management, establishing the interests and goals of stakeholders, reviewing incident data capture techniques outfitters use, analyzing past incidents and looking for themes, and exploring issues of liability and waivers of liability as they relate to agency requirements. On day two, the group focused on concepts that might be included in a national risk management code of ethics, establishing an internal communication platform for RMORR, and considering next steps.

AORE Executive Director, Jeannette Stawski, attended the two day roundtable and said, “The Roundtable was a great stage for me to articulate AORE member’s challenges and strengths. AORE members are ambassadors for connecting outdoor recreation skills and experience to and on public lands. AORE member programs are facilitating groups of impressionable 18-24 year olds through classes, programs, trips and activities. Together, we can work with the land management agencies to not only expose and engage youth to outdoor experiences; we can provide transformative experiences offering team building, leadership, conservation and stewardship.” 
 
Advocating alongside Jeannette and on behalf of AORE sat Brian Shirley, Co-Chair AORE Access and Permitting Committee, and Sam Hensold, Assistant Coordinator of Outdoor Pursuits at Fort Lewis College. Paul Sanford, AORE Board Member and National Director of Recreation Policy at The Wilderness Society also attended the meeting and advocated on behalf of The Wilderness Society and AORE. During discussions, all four shared how AORE members and their colleagues are challenged by a convoluted permitting process, the requirement to indemnify, and staff limitations. Through discussions, it was apparent that various goals of land management agencies can be achieved with the help and cooperation from communities such as AORE.
 
“This Roundtable has been long-time coming,” noted Shirley. “We talked about best practices, leadership, shared learning and how we can be ambassadors for engaging future users by teaching them how to recreate properly among other things. I’m honored to be an agent for change and excited to see what’s to come.”
 
AORE members far and wide are having their voices heard on the national stage through the collective efforts of these four individuals. It’s with this strength of leadership and attention to advocacy that AORE and its members will achieve their shared mission.



Published: 05/02/16