SHIFT organizers have added a roundtable on Land Conservation, Wilderness Advocacy & Human-Powered Outdoor Recreation to the 2014 SHIFT Summit.
A schedule for the Roundtable may be found here.
The roundtable was created by SHIFT Senior Advisor Luther Propst. Propst is the founder of the Sonoran Institute and the chair of the Outdoor Alliance.
It is being coordinated by Public Land Solutions Managing Directors Ashley Korenblat and Jason Keith, and will take place at the National Museum of Wildlife Art on Thursday, Oct. 9.
Participants include winners of the 2014 SHIFT Sustainability Awards in the Adventure (outdoor recreation) category, as well as notable conservationists such as Peter Metcalf, CEO of Black Diamond, Inc.; Caroline Byrd, Executive Director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition; and conservation journalist Todd Wilkinson.
Proceedings from the roundtable will be presented at the conclusion of the Summit’s Adventure program on Friday, Oct. 10. The presentation will occur immediately preceeding the Summit’s final plenary.
“Advocates for the conservation of our public lands and rivers, the human-powered outdoor recreation community, and conservation-minded hunters and anglers have produced significant progress over the past few years working together in enduring coalitions to protect our public lands and rivers and promote sustainability in communities that adjoin our public lands,” said Propst. “This progress constitutes a bright light in an otherwise generally bleak, polarized, and grid-locked environment for conservation progress.”
Propst notes that the progress results from several factors: expanding the constituency for conservation to include natural allies among outdoor recreation enthusiasts; building trusting relationships among conservation professionals; undertaking advance consultation with one another; and developing lasting coalitions that transcend single issues.
“Conservation advocates increasingly realize that outdoor recreation provides a powerful, non-traditional, younger constituency for conservation,” he says. “Human-powered outdoor recreation enthusiasts increasingly realize that protecting the setting and quality of our public lands is as critical as securing sustainable access.”
“In short, an influx of youth and enthusiasm for natural places within the outdoor recreation community is a profoundly valuable addition to the conservation movement.”
According to Propst, advocates for wilderness designation and the mountain bike community, in particular, have seen recent progress by working together. These communities have also made progress in improving the ecological and social sustainability of outdoor recreation, with efforts such as IMBA’s “Ride to your Ride” program helping to get people out of their cars and into the outdoors near home, and The Wilderness Society’s new strategic emphasis on engaging a broader constituency in support of wild lands conservation.
As part of the 2014 SHIFT Summit, Propst has been working with Korenblat and Keith to convene a work session that brings together approximately two dozen leaders in conservation, wilderness advocacy, and outdoor recreation for two days of dialogue and strategy development.
Participants will discuss successful case studies, assess lessons learned, identify barriers, and develop principles and strategies for overcoming these barriers. The session will pay particular attention to potential policy innovations that capitalize upon the strength of coalitions among conservation advocates, community sustainability advocates, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts —such as new categories of land designations and new funding sources for land protection and management.
“We will discuss powerful tried and true tools, such as use of the Antiquities Act to protect national monuments,” says Propst. “The Roundtable will also discuss the use of economic analysis to quantify the value of protected public land use by outdoor rec user groups.”
The Roundtable fits neatly with the Summit, which is being developed around the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The Summit poses the logical counterpart to the anniversary celebrations by asking participants where they want our public lands to be in 50 years, and what steps need to be taken now to get there.
“The Roundtable aims to build a stronger, more enduring, and more united coalition among conservation, sustainability, and outdoor recreation advocates in order to help usher in a new generation of conservation champions and successes,” says Propst.