Letters From the Outdoors

Mike Racine, President, Big Tent Outdoor Recreation Coalition

Letters From the Outdoors

REI recently developed a new report, “The Path Ahead”, aimed at prompting deeper dialogue about why we all ought to #OptOutside. Did you know the average American spends 95% of their life indoors? What does that lead to?

  • A lost generation?
  • We’re becoming an indoor species?
  • Urban sprawl?
  • All work no play?
  • Sick and sad?
  • We live in a virtual world?
  • Niche nature is all we have?
  • Turf wars?
  • A post-nature world?

Inevitable? Not a chance! Time to choose. Access the report online here:”

On Friday November 24, 2014 (aka Black Friday), opt outside and join REI, its employees, and thousands of Washington enthusiasts outside in the fresh air doing whatever wonderful thing it is you enjoy in the great outdoors!

We encourage you to forward this information to your membership and customers.

We’d love to hear from you. Send us any issues/concerns/events/topics/ideas you think we should be aware of.



Mike Racine | President | Big Tent Outdoor Recreation Coalition | 425.830.9545



REI friends and partners,

On Monday last week, we launched #OptOutside for 2017. Our focus, once more, is to celebrate hardworking people dedicated to a life outdoors and to get more Americans outside. We’re introducing a number of things to do that this year.

Today, we’re especially happy to share a new report with you, the nonprofit and government leaders who have built #OptOutside. Entitled The Path Ahead, it captures trends that affect the future of life outdoors. It doesn’t present the answers. It’s designed to provoke discussion by exploring nine ‘brutal truths’ juxtaposed with nine ‘beautiful possibilities.’ Together, they paint a picture of what could happen if we stay inside as a species, or #OptOutside. You can access the content at It includes a compelling animation, which also can be viewed here

You and your colleagues will be familiar with different segments of The Path Ahead. The report puts them in one place and presents them against the backdrop of the national discussion that #OptOutside has helped catalyze. As a next step, we’d urge you both to read The Path Ahead and share it across your channels in order to inspire the deeper appreciation of why we spend time outside. And if you and your teams have thoughts about how REI might support greater discussion of the report’s themes, your friends at REI are always interested in new, creative ideas.

We created The Path Ahead partly to spark conversation, but also to say thank you. For the last two years, you have been the lifeblood of #OptOutside. Together, we have encouraged more than 7 million people to #OptOutside. Thanks to your engagement, what started as a moment, has become a movement. And this year, the pace is picking up again. Already, we know that:

Michigan state parks will have free entry to parks and trails on Black Friday,
Eastcoast Greenway Alliance, throughout November, is encouraging people all along the East Coast to get out on the Greenway, and
Austin Parks Foundation is launching an #OptOutside social and digital campaign.

So far, we’re aware of 100+ events and activations. To help keep things rolling, we:

Are collecting news of other events and activations at,
Have online tools at,
Have a new experiential search engine at, powered by experiences and imagery from the outdoor community,
Are launching additional, inspiring videos using images taken by REI members -- here’s one and here’s another – and by Thanksgiving, we’ll have launched nearly 20,
Continue to host on the REI Journal ( powerful thought-pieces from leaders of the outdoor community arguing why life outdoors matters more than ever.

Our intent throughout #OptOutside 2015, 2016 and now 2017 is to shine a light on the unsung work and passions of the outdoor community. Your thoughts and actions move millions. Our thanks again for your partnership and commitment.

Alex Thompson, Vice President, Brand Stewardship & Impact, REI
Marc Berejka, Director, Community & Government Affairs, REI



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Data Minimize
A state study completed by the Recreation and Conservation Office in January 2015, finds that people in Washington spend nearly $22 billion each year hiking, skiing, boating, golfing, and in other outdoor pursuits.  See Study


January 2014 - Outdoor recreation is an economic powerhouse in the United States, each year generating $646 billion in customer spending and 6.1 million direct jobs.  See Study

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