Rivers are in the spotlight in Denver at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, North America’s largest tradeshow in the outdoor industry.
Numerous events, discussions and parties throughout the show, from July 22 – July 25 are focused on the importance of clean water and healthy rivers to businesses and communities.
And it’s a big deal: The Colorado River alone supports a $1.4 trillion economy each year, including recreation, agriculture, power and water supplies.
Across the country, rivers provide more than two-thirds of our clean, safe, reliable drinking water, and every year Americans spend $86 billion on watersports.
Another reason everyone’s talking about rivers? This year is the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act – the landmark law that permanently protects rivers with outstanding scenic, recreational, fish and wildlife, historic and cultural values. Like America’s National Parks, wildlife refuges and wilderness areas, the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System was the first of its kind in the world.
A coalition of conservation organizations and leaders in the outdoor industry have joined forces to celebrate the anniversary and advance the next 50 years of river protection in our country. The campaign, 5,000 Miles of Wild® – is a campaign of American Rivers, American Whitewater, NRS, OARS, YETI, REI, Chacos, NiteIze, Chums, Keen, Kokatat and Yakima. We’re working together to protect 5,000 new miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers and one million acres of public land over the next two years.
“In an era when public lands and clean, healthy waters – concepts we once took for granted in America – face grave threats, we must renew our commitment as a nation to protecting free-flowing rivers and wild places for generations to come,” said Mark Deming, NRS Director of Marketing.
“5,000 Miles of Wild brings us together to protect something vital to our everyday lives, and vital to our outdoor lifestyles and recreation,” said Colleen Gilligan, Director of Marketing at Chums.
“We want our children and children’s children to have the same opportunity to enjoy our amazing natural resources that we had. We want them to build the same memories and love for the outdoors that we did. The more we can come together as an industry and advocate for the outdoors, the more we can protect and save these opportunities for everyone.”
During the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, Boulder-based company NiteIze is throwing a party to rally attendees in support of Wild and Scenic Rivers, and NRS, Chums and American Whitewater are hosting events to celebrate rivers and drive action for river protection.
Upon signing the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act on October 2, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson said, “Every individual and every family should get to know at least one river.”
We couldn’t agree more, and we are grateful to our partners in the outdoor industry who are stepping up to ensure a future of healthy rivers for all.