The Generation of Baby Boomers has influenced every Institution in our culture. From Education to Outdoor Recreation, Boomers had the “Ace in the Hole” factor of being the largest generation from the 50’s to the 21st Century. The institutions that began in the 20’s and 30’s were infused and overwhelmed by the 28 million Boomers. Highly educated (comparatively speaking) and demanding “change” throughout our culture. Their parents introduced them to the “Great Outdoors” via access to our National Parks. Infrastructures, of the Interstate Highway System, made traveling faster and easier as well as opening the accessibility to the great outdoor experience. This momentum generated outdoor/travel activities as part of the new culture.
The first outdoor experience, with the initial outdoor gear products, became available from military gear technology that was introduced via the Army/Navy Surplus Retail Stores. The “Surplus Stores” introduced the Outdoorists, of that time, to the latest technologies on the planet (remember the 10th Mountaineers) and therefore energized and advanced Outdoor Gear for Boomers.
From this advancement, creative “Gear Heads” became legendary “Fathers of the Great Outdoors” and, to date, has become a $646 Billion Industry. This figure, which is astounding to me, has been included in the GDP for the first time in it’s history. Outdoorists enveloped the latest outdoor technologies, thus allowing the Adventurists to have, as their goals, challenging the once limited (by existing gear) accomplishments, toward new unheard of standards in Outdoor Activities, such as Climbing, Kayaking, Soaring, Decents, Running and many more. Levels of records, up to this point, were considered impossible and life-risking.
Below is a cadre of Outdoor Pioneers, which all Outdoorists put in high stature, that are living super-heroes in the Outdoor Industry:
Eddie Bauer (Eddie Bauer Company)
Doug/Susie Tompkins (The North Face and Esprit de Corps)
Lloyd/Mary Andersen (REI)
Royal/Liz Robbins (Royal Robbins)
Lisa Lindahl (Original Sports Bra)
The above Outdoorists, and many more, have a common trait; They are all “Baby Boomers”. This leads me to my interests and concerns.
Boomers basically began and fueled the Outdoor Industry as we know it today. Over 58% of Boomers are 60+ Years of age. The biggest re-purposing motivation today for them includes Sustainability, Infrastructure, Exploration, and future Outdoorists. Volunteerism is at the forefront for Boomers to utilize their skill-sets and talents by tapping into the tools they have developed and utilized throughout their careers in the Outdoor Industry on many levels.
OutdoorLoyalty.com has, from it’s very beginnings, pursued the goal of expanding the Loyalty Programs toward Reward-Outdoor-Activities (which is OutdoorLoyalty.com’s tag line) that includes the “Points for Participation” for Outdoorists that do such activities as Volunteering in the NPS, supporting activities that focus on Youth Programs that educate and orient young people to respect and understand the outdoor issues now and in the future. Rewarding these activities, with points within the retailer’s Reward’s Program is “the heart and soul” of Outdoorists everywhere.
In the arena of Politics and Policies reside excessive promises by the directors of Government Agencies to shift towards privatization of Agencies like Consumer Protection, Climate Change, Infrastructure, Health Care, Transportation and more, affecting decades of the Outdoor Industry’s commitment to the Great Outdoors on many levels of our society. There is also a focus on our Senior Citizen’s financial foundation by privatizing Social Security and Medicare which could disrupt their personal “sense of security”. The Baby Boomer Generation has a plethora of Time, Skills and Commitment to the United States of America as envisioned by Encore.org.
Senior Outdoorists need to follow the Herculean type efforts of many organizations that are pursuing the protection and commitment we all continue to support of our great outdoors. As of late, Outdoor Industries Association (O.I.A.) has prioritized the NPS in Congress by creating, presenting and successfully having passed by Congress The NPS Centennial Act of 2016. Key provisions of this Bill:
* Creating tens of millions of dollars for the parks to catch-up on maintenance backlogs.
*Establishing a Second Century Endowment to continue funding the priority projects.
*Help Public Land Service Corp. by raising the limit of Corp. Members from 25 to 30 years of age.
*Reauthorizing the historic Preservation Fund through 2023.
*Allowing more money to go toward assisting Volunteers in Parks.
Thanks to O.I.A., NPS, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah for all their time and efforts put in the passing of this Bill.
OutdoorLoyalty.com is totally committed to supporting the tremendous efforts of all those involved. Let’s make 2017 and beyond a period of time that we all can say that this is what initiated a movement that saved, improved and promoted our “Crown Jewels” for all Americans to respect and enjoy.
At this point of the blog, we usually reference a link to articles that extend the discussion put forth here. We at OutdoorLoyalty want to connect you this time to a issue of Outside Magazine’s August 2015 titled “The Encyclopedia of Gear”; 187 Amazing Stories about everything We Use…Visit the link below for an amazing read that is an informative look at the movement that created The Outdoor Industry.