Dear Outdoor Recreation Guides and Tour Operators,
There’s a lot swirling around in the outdoor recreation guides, outfitters, and tourism industry in innumerable small subgroups. We have all been working to try to stay sane and keep our businesses afloat and afoot- via email, phone, zoom, etc… Here’s what has come out as a consequence of our work last week:
On behalf of Recreation Northwest and our recently formed Washington Outdoor Business Alliance we have a draft Letter to the Governor being circulated in an ad hoc working group of business owners that we assembled across the state, listed on page 4 of the letter. These business owners have NOT formally signed off on this working draft, but I feel compelled to let those in the industry know we are making our attempts to rally the wagons and connect people.
Background on how we got here:
Kristi Kucera, Moondance Sea Kayak Adventures, is on Recreation Northwest’s Board of Directors. As a local kayak guide, she was wondering last week how she could get “back to work” in a responsible and reasonable manner, here in Washington State- especially as it related to permits/concessions in state parks. We launched into action and connected some dots.
We had a video meeting on Wednesday morning and subsequently, we now have a working draft Letter to the Governor to submit to Jon Snyder, Outdoor Recreation and Economic Policy Advisor for Governor Inslee. There are final edits and additions to be made before submission. We have more information to gather to submit a complete packet in response to the new phases outlined in Olympia last Friday. We were directed to focus on the specifics to how both employees and the public as clients will be approached with new safety measures and protocols as we evolve through the phases.
NOTE: I wouldn’t usually share a draft, but we are in a special circumstance!
In quickly assembling our working group, we strove for a variety of disciplines- including Sea Kayaking, River Rafting, Mountaineering & Alpine Climbing, Hiking, Cycling, Packing and Tourism and geographic representation as well. This is by no means a comprehensive list and we welcome inclusion. This is the beginning of a process. We hope to finalize our documents ASAP.
In congruence with our efforts, a group rallied under the working title “paddlesport outfitters working group of Washington”. Kristi is sending a letter under the Alliance masthead to the Governor for the purposes of engaging with Olympia and reopening for business in the identified phases to Mr. Snyder tomorrow on behalf of this new group.
We are cognizant that other informal ad hoc groups that represent their specific discipline are in independent conversations across the state and nation.
We are here for you. Please contact me directly: 360-739-8458 or via email.
Todd Elsworth, Executive Director
Washington Outdoor Business Alliance
Todd Elsworth is one of the many “Mossy-haired lunatics roaming the dripping peninsulas”, described in “I’m Here for the Weather” by Tom Robbins. As executive director, he works to fulfill our mission to teach the health benefits of nature, promote outdoor recreation, and steward the places where we play.