December 10, 2020

Senator Tom Udall
Hart Senate Office Building, 531
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Martin Heinrich
Hart Senate Office Building, 303
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senators Udall and Heinrich,

Thank you for introducing the M.H. Dutch Salmon Greater Gila Wild and Scenic River Act, which would protect nearly 450 miles of the Gila and San Francisco Rivers and their tributaries as Wild and Scenic. For nearly a decade, a groundswell of support for these protections has been growing from Tribes, sportsmen and women, veterans, small business owners, faith and civic organizations, local municipalities and governments, and outdoor recreation and conservation organizations. Today, we join them in applauding your leadership on this effort. 

At a time when Americans are experiencing vast economic hardship and unprecedented uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic, designating these rivers and tributaries as Wild and Scenic will ensure local, rural economies that depend upon time-tested traditions like grazing, ranching, and hunting and fishing can continue. Additionally, it gives us all hope — and an indomitable reminder of the value of our wild places. 

The Gila and San Francisco rivers, along with their tributaries, make up one of the largest free-flowing watersheds remaining in the Lower 48 states. Flowing through the nation’s first wilderness area, a place of which Aldo Leopold wrote, “Wilderness is the one kind of playground which mankind cannot build to order… I contrived to get the Gila headwaters withdrawn as a wilderness area, to be kept as pack country, free from additional roads, ‘forever.’”

These wild and rugged landscapes form the bedrock of our outdoor economy, providing boundless inspiration and giving roots to our American way of life. Simply put, safeguarding our common waters and lands is vital to our economy, health and communities.

Outdoor recreation is big business in New Mexico, generating nearly $10 billion in consumer spending, roughly $3 billion in wages and salaries, $623 million in state and local tax revenues, and directly employing 99,000 people. And it doesn’t stop there. Each year, the outdoor recreation industry generates $887 billion in consumer spending and 7.6 million jobs.

Never has it been more vital for us to come together as a country and work together to protect our communities and wild places for all of us today and for future generations. Thank you for continuing to do what it takes to fight for our shared values — even, and especially when it hasn’t been easy. We stand with you and call on the Senate to move this legislation, and for it to quickly become law.

Sincerely,

The OARS Family of Companies
Tyler and Clavey Wendt, Owners
Merlin, Oregon and Angels Camp, California

Aspen Skiing Company 
Auden Schendler, VP Sustainability
Aspen, Colorado

REI Co-op
Taldi Harrison, Government and Community Affairs Manager
Kent, Washington

Taos Fly Shop
Nick Streit, Owner
Taos, New Mexico

The Reel Life
Ivan Valdez, Owner
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Red River Angler and Sport
Sloan Covington, Owner
Red River, New Mexico

Yakima Products Inc.
Ryan Martin, CEO
Beaverton, Oregon

Alpacka Raft
Thor and Sarah Tingey, Owners
Mancos, Colorado 

Buckley Associates
Lucy Buckley, CEO
Boulder, Colorado

LaSportiva
Jonathan Lantz, President
Boulder, Colorado

Sawyer Paddles
Zac Kauffman, CEO
Gold Hill, Oregon

Ruffwear
Allison Miles, Community and Content Manager
Bend, Oregon

Backbone Media
Penn Newhard, Founder
Carbondale, Colorado

Wild Rye
Cassie Able, Founder
Ketchum, Idaho 

Uinta Brewing Company 
Jeremy Ragonese, President
Salt Lake City, Utah 

KEEN
Erik Burbank, Chief Brand Officer 
Portland, Oregon

Nite Ize
Cassie Ryan, Social Media Specialist
Boulder, Colorado

Far Flung Adventures
Steve Harris, CEO
El Prado, New Mexico 

Kokapelli Raft Adventures
Kelly Gossett, Owner
Santa Fe, New Mexico

New Mexico River Outfitters Association
Steve Harris, Public Affairs Director
Embudo, New Mexico

Patagonia
Hans Cole, Director of Environmental Campaigns and Advocacy
Ventura, California 

Protect Our Winters
Torrey Udall, Director of Development 
Boulder, Colorado

Justin Balie Photography
Justin Balie, Owner
Nehalem, Oregon

rygr
Brian Holcombe, Principle 
Carbondale, Colorado 

Mountain, Stream, and Trail Adventures, LLC
Michael T Carney, Co-founder
Albuquerque, New Mexico

AIRE, Inc.
Alan Hamilton, Co-founder
Bosie, Idaho 

Orvis
Simon Perkins, President
Sunderland, Vermont

Badfish SUP
Mike Harvey, Co-owner 
Salida, Colorado 

Hydro Flask 
Larry Witt, President
Bend, Oregon

Klean Kanteen
Caroleigh Pierce, Nonprofit Outreach Manager
Chico, California

Los Rios River Runners
Francisco Guevara, Owner
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe Rafting
Jarrod McClure, Owner
Santa Fe, New Mexico 

New Mexico River Adventures
Wendy Gontram, Owner
Embudo, New Mexico 

New Wave Rafting
Britt Huggins, Owner
Embudo, New Mexico

Under Solen Media
Emily Nuchols, Owner
Portland, Oregon

NRS
Mark Deming, Director of Marketing 
Moscow, Idaho 

The Conservation Alliance
Brady Robinson, Executive Director
Bend, Oregon

Jack’s Plastic Welding Inc.
Errol Baade, CEO
Aztec, New Mexico

NM Outdoor Recreation Business Alliance 
James Glover, Co-Director
Farmington, New Mexico