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|EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR UPDATE (2/15): REPORT ON COALITION FOR OUTDOOR ACCESS MEETING|
The COA convened on February 1st to explore providing the coalition with more capacity for growth and increased opportunities to make an impact. Here, Jeannette Stawski shares takeaways and reflections from the meeting.
Every American has a right to access and enjoy this nation’s public lands. However, the inability of current management strategies to adapt to new demands unnecessarily restricts opportunities to enjoy these special places, undermining local economies and diminishing support for funding for federal lands. In 2014, outdoor businesses, industry leaders, and advocacy organizations established the Outdoor Access Working Group together in an effort to address challenges we all shared with the permitting systems of federal land management agencies.
Now called the Coalition for Outdoor Access (COA) in 2019, these passionate stakeholders continue to focus on increasing access to public lands and waters for facilitated recreation and education activities while still prioritizing the protection of nature and the environment. Efforts are channeled primarily into making the permitting systems of government land management agencies more efficient, transparent, and responsive.
The COA’s steering committee convened on February 1 this year to explore adopting a more formal framework that will help the coalition build upon its strengths and successes to allow for more capacity to grow and make an impact. At this time, it was determined that this step is not yet needed in order to remain at the forefront of key conversations and initiatives. Instead, the COA will utilize one or more fiscal agent(s) on an ad hoc basis to manage the resources needed for specific projects for the foreseeable future. Another deep dive held during this month’s meeting resulted in the coalition agreeing to develop a communication strategy as well as an marketing engagement plan to support its identified goals.
Jeannette's Reflections on COA Involvement
I have had the privilege of leading the COA as it strives to resolve the complex hurdles that come with access and permitting systems. When working alongside other industry professionals in this advocacy role, I am able to articulate and express AORE member challenges as well as seek resolution for them. I can also bring back lessons learned from these conversations to help members broaden their awareness of issues and implement new solutions for facilitating their programs on public lands.
By being an active member of the coalition, I truly feel that AORE's unified voice can lead the critical conversations affecting our profession rather than being a mere whisper from the sidelines.
Many individuals and organizations have tremendous expertise, historical perspective, capacity, time, and resources have also invested into these issues and AORE is incredibly appreciative of the previous achievements in this space. I can only hope to amplify this work in collaboration with my colleagues.