AORE Annual Report 2012 - Page 8

The Unification of Voices: The National Forest Access Coalition What is the National Forest Access Coalition? The NFAC is made up of a diverse team of outdoor leaders and organizations that provide outdoor recreation and environmental education opportunities on America’s public lands. The coalition works to engage the U.S. Forest Service in a collaborative effort to expand opportunities for group recreation and education in the National Forests. Why is it important that the AORE joins the NFAC? Many colleges and universities are encountering access and permitting issues on federal land, including National Forests, as there are a myriad of inconsistencies with the rules and regulations. The AORE would like to support those who would help advocate for the issues facing our membership. “A common message in all of the parks we visited was that of care for the greater good. Individuals formed a community around preservation - of a watershed, of great trees, of ocean habitat, native cultures - and fostered a vision bigger than the ’now.’ The need to put aside the urgency and need for immediate gratification, and instead to work towards something that is to be received at a future point in time [sustainability] has continued to be a challenge, even for the most constrained.” -Jeannette Stawski, AORE ED After showing support for NFAC, and acknowledging the issues our members face concerning access and permitting, what steps has the AORE taken to increase awareness about these issues? In October of 2012, the AORE attended the first National Forest Access Coalition and was shortly thereafter formally invited to join the coalition. The Access Committee then presented the proposal to the Board of Directors to join the NFAC at the 2012 AORE Annual Conference, a motion that was unanimously approved. Since gaining the AORE’s approval, the Access Committee has spearheaded a project to survey our membership about the issues they have encountered in terms of Access. The survey included several topics pertaining to access and permitting:  The challenges/successes that our members have encountered in permitting o Specifically, what trouble are they confronted with? o If there are members gaining access, who are they, and how are they able to easily gain access to federal lands? After administering the survey to our membership, the Access Committee is now faced with a mountain of data to sift through, and is currently in the process of review. The goal of the Access Committee is to present their findings to the membership at the 2013 Annual Conference in College Park, MD, during the much anticipated Access Summit. 7