AORE Association News June 2015 - Page 11

AORE Access Committee Update AORE Participates in Access Progress Through OAWG Brian Shirley Outdoor Program Director, Utah State University Co-Chair, AORE Access Committee The AORE BOD through the Access committee is committed to promoting access to public lands for recreational and educational purposes. One of the areas that has been identified as a goal is to develop meaningful discussions with high level decision makers with-in land management agencies so that we can help them clearly understand the value of what our member programs do. Further this goal is aimed at being able to help effect changes in policy that can increase access for AORE members. Largely in part to the AORE’s participation as a voting member of the Outdoor Access Working Group those opportunities are now happening. This is an exciting time for the AORE with regard to public lands access and this was highlighted during the recent meetings in Washington D.C. following the Outdoor Industry Association lobby day. As a voting member of the OAWG representing the AORE, Jeannette Stawski was a part of those meetings. Additionally AORE BOD member, Paul Sanford, was present in his role with the Wilderness Society. Finally, through the financial support of the Wilderness Society Brian Shirley, Co-Chair of the Access committee was able to attend and participate in the discussions. There were some very positive outcomes and many of them will depend upon you, the membership of the AORE for your input in the months to come. We encourage you to watch the listserv as requests for information about your programs comes through. Below is a summary of those outcomes. The OAWG had three meetings during the visit in DC. The first was with the USFS leadership, the second with the NPS leadership overseeing permitting and concessions and a finally a subset of the FICOR (Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation) working group. The FICOR meeting included those in charge of permitting/concessions for NPS, USFS, and BLM. All the meetings were very productive and a few outcomes from the meetings include: 1. Needs Assessments: We discussed that the Needs Assessment process both in and out of wilderness areas is not well defined for all agencies and causes a bottleneck in issuing permits. A project to propose a clarified / simplified process was discussed and is being led by AORE University members and America Outdoors in partnership with the agencies. We are currently scoping the work in order to understand the research needed and funding necessary to move this forward. 2. Legal / Risk Management issues: We discussed the need for the agencies to lead a conversation with their lawyers around indemnification for organizations that operate under state laws that don't allow for indemnification (universities). Our OAWG lawyer (Paul Sanford from TWS) is assisting with some of the questions they should examine. We also discussed issues with insurance limits and requirements on outfitters/guides that make 11