Advocacy Updates: Oil + gas on public lands, Bears Ears, wildfires & more!

Salutations outdoorists, 

Remember last year, when we teamed up with Public Land Solutions to help stop oil and gas leasing near Moab, UT (and gathered over 36,000 signatures––and the lease sale got cancelled)? While that campaign was a victorious success, it wasn’t enough.

It’s time for oil and gas leasing reform on our public lands.

President Biden recently put a pause on all new oil and gas leasing on federal public lands, but that is a temporary halt giving the administration an opportunity to make major changes to the role fossil fuel exploration and extraction plays on our public lands.

Need scientific evidence on why we need oil and gas reform on public lands? This report recently released by Public Land Solutions details the ways inactive oil and gas wells are negatively impacting wildlife, recreation and rural communities. Here’s additional reading from Center for American Progress on why oil and gas + public lands = no bueno.

Outdoor Alliance has a letter-writing tool you can use to directly submit a comment to Interior’s comment portal––deadline is TOMORROW!

Note: Be sure personalize your message for the greatest impact––during Interior’s forum last month they specifically requested “quality over quantity” for these comments. Set a timer for 5 minutes and get personal with your comment! 

The comment period ends 4/15, but our work getting educated and activated on oil and gas reform is just getting started. More to come soon!

Other outdoorsy news you oughta know right now:

Got the beta on an outdoor advocacy issue, event, or rad content we ought to know about? Give us the scoop: – we want to hear from you and amplify your nooks of advocacy + the outdoors!

Every other week, we give you a download on the latest outdoor advocacy and community happenings – sign up for the e-mail newsletter or subscribe below and never miss another Advocacy Update when it drops!

What is Protecting America’s Wilderness Act Plus?

If the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act sounds familiar–it’s because you’ve heard of this public lands policy package before. Last year, the outdoor community advocated hard for the first iteration of then-called PAWA, a group of six bills that promised to protect 1.3 million acres of public lands and more than 1200 river miles. Unfortunately, PAWA fell short in 2020–but now in 2021 it’s back, better, and in need of your support.

What is Protecting America’s Wilderness Act Plus? This newly introduced package now includes eight bills:

This will be the first major public lands/outdoor related vote of this new Congress, and the first vote happens in the House on Wednesday 9/24/21. It is imperative that outdoorists raise our voices on this issue to set the stage for protecting public lands and prioritizing the health of our environment during this new Congress.

Here’s two ways to take action:

  1. Tell your lawmakers to pass these public land protections using Outdoor Alliance’s FastAction tool here. Outdoor Alliance also has excellent resources and context to learn more about PAW+.
  2. Use American Alpine Club’s Phone2Action letter writing tool to write your reps here.

Why is it so important to take action right now? We’ll leave you with these words from our friends at Outdoor Alliance: “It’s incredibly important that the outdoor community shows up in force to support these efforts. Our support now not only promises to protect important outdoor landscapes, but also greases the skids for future protections. For new members of Congress especially, these early votes are a litmus test for public lands issues. Lawmakers need to hear right off the bat that their voters are enthusiastic about conservation and the outdoors – let’s make this public lands package the beginning, not the end, of what we accomplish together this Congress.”

Have any resources on PAW+ we’re missing? Send us an e-mail at and we’ll add ’em to this post!

Confirmation hearing set for Interior Secretary Nominee Deb Haaland

Big news, outdoorists! The confirmation hearing for Interior Secretary nominee Deb Haaland has officially been set by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for February 23rd at 9:30 AM (Eastern). Learn more about the news here via Indian Country Today, and catch up on our past post about Haaland’s nomination here.

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Wondering what this confirmation hearing means, or how the Cabinet works? Did that last question confuse you even more? We’ve got you covered: check out this resource about the confirmation process.

We recently joined Wilderness Society and nearly 500 outdoor and environmental organizations in a letter supporting this historic nomination. Here’s an excerpt from the letter:

“If confirmed, Rep. Haaland would be the first Native American to lead the Department and the first Native American Cabinet Secretary in our nation’s history.

As Vice Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee and Chair of the National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands subcommittee, Rep. Haaland is a proven leader and the right person to lead the charge against the existential threats of our time – tackling the climate, biodiversity, extinction and COVID-19 crises, and racial justice inequities on our Federal public lands and waters.

The Department of the Interior is responsible for managing 500 million acres of our shared public lands, waters, wildlife, and natural resources, as well as offshore energy and mineral resources. The department is also responsible for upholding the Federal government’s treaty and trust responsibilities to Native American tribes, including managing more than 55 million acres of lands held in trust for Native Americans by the government.

Over the last four years alone, the previous administration routinely neglected to properly consult tribal governments before proceeding with fossil fuel development projects, land management plans, lease sales, and rulemakings that degraded air and water quality across the nation.

Given DOI’s track record of failing to consult with Tribes or engage with Indigenous communities while enacting public lands policies against the better interests of Indigenous people, Rep. Haaland’s confirmation would be both an historic and much-needed step toward reckoning with a long and troubling legacy while building new, lasting, equitable achievements.”

Read the full Haaland Community Support Letter here.

Advocates, get ready to take action in support of Haaland’s nomination. She is already receiving pushback for her strong stances against the oil and gas industry, so call your reps to voice your support and stay tuned for further action items–and as always, we’ll keep you updated with any new developments.

Black History Month for Outdoorists

We often hear “the outdoors are for all” – but did you know the National Park Service was segregated until 1945? Our community has been learning and unlearning so much about what we were taught (or weren’t at all), and Black History Month provides an opportunity to deepen our historical understandings, reshape narratives, and move forward towards more equitable futures. 

This February, we’re celebrating Black History Month by learning about Black outdoor historical figures and today’s generation of Black outdoorists bringing revolution, advocacy, art and joy into nature. 

Dive in below to get started with articles, films, books, podcasts, social media and more: 

Folks to stay tuned to all month:

  • Laura Edmonson’s Instagram story highlights are always a gift to learn from, and her Black History Month lessons are no exception. Start with this post, then buckle up and dive into her resources on history, the nuance of language, AAVE and more.
  • Outdoor Afro is highlighting Black historical figures in the outdoors, historic places for recreation, and recent achievements by Black individuals related to the outdoors. Here’s the first post in their series to get you started––and be sure to check out their new Empower by Nature collection with Parks Project.
  • James Edward Mills, aka Joy Trip Project, is doing a month-long project he’s calling the #JoyTripBlackHistoryProject2021. From names you might recognize like Dred Scott to Black historical figures you may not know (yet) like poet Phillis Wheatley Peters.
  • Chelsea Murphy aka She Colors Nature is hosting a research and journaling prompt series celebrating Black women where she invites participants to take a prompt, do their own Googling, then spend time privately reflecting. Get started with Day One here.
  • Noami Grevemberg has an ongoing BHM highlight sharing her experiences as a Black immigrant, historical lessons, spotlights on Black futures and more. 
  • Follow the #BlackOutdoorJoy hashtag on Instagram, created by nature photographer Gina Danza.




  • “Join us for an uncomfortable conversation about the N word” is a virtual event hosted by Pocket Media, Outdoor Industry Association and Outdoor Media for Inclusion on February 16th. The panel includes Teresa Baker, Alison Mariella Désir, Carolyn Finney, Ph.D., Devin Dabney and Dhani Jones. Get registered here.
  • Slim Pickins Outfitters is hosting a virtual panel discussion on February 17th, in collaboration with the Outbound Collective, Wondercamp and HOKA ONE ONE. This event will be moderated by Latria Graham and include ASL interpretation. 


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  • The California Recreate Responsibly Coalition Chapter has produced a timely webinar series for February: “Building an Inclusive Outdoors: Honoring Black History Month.” The series features two separate webinars:  
    – Tuesday, February 9: The More you Snow: Stories of American History in Snow Sports
    – Tuesday, February 23: From Untold to Bold: Highlighting Black Stories in the Outdoors
    Register here for these two events!
  • If you happen to live in PA, check out these Black History Month bike, jog, garden and Zumba events (both in-person and virtual) hosted by Venture Outdoors in collaboration with Black-led organizations in historically significant Black spaces.




These resources from around our community are a mere starting point for learning about the past, present and future of the Black community in the outdoors. If you’ve got a Black History Month resource we’re missing, send it to us and we’ll add it to the growing list!

As we celebrate, learn, and unlearn this month, let’s remember that Black history and futures aren’t just a moment in time on our calendars––justice and anti-racism are a lens through which we should constantly be viewing and shaping our advocacy work and lives. Onward, together.

To Our AAPI Community

Hey everyone, it’s Vivian here as part of the OAP team. Lately, you may have heard the news of the violent hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and I wanted to share a few of my thoughts. As I learned more about them, I couldn’t help but think ‘why’ – why are these people doing this? why are they targeting elders? why are these stories not in mainstream media? – just why. 

In these last couple of years, I’ve struggled with my identity as an Asian American woman and where I belonged. I feel like an “in-between”,  juggling growing up in a western society while being taught with eastern values. Trying to be “Asian enough” for my community, but also “white enough” for the white community. I’ve had my fair share of falling victim to racist remarks and microaggressions like always being seen as foreign, being called “chink” or “open your eyes”, the classic “where are you from” question, folks not taking my struggles seriously because they believe in the model minority myth, assuming my cultural identity, mocking my language, being fetishized, and the list goes on.

Like many communities of color, Asian American history has been largely erased in America. With stereotypes and the model minority myth, Asians have been silenced and forgotten among media and even in anti-racism and DEI talks. Our struggles have taken a backseat. As @steveyeun recently said, “Sometimes I wonder if the Asian American experience is what it’s like when you’re thinking about everyone else, but nobody else is thinking about you.”

I feel like there’s always this battle among communities of color of who have struggled “the most” or “the worst”. The model minority myth was created to falsely paint a picture that an ethnic group can “overcome” racism and further create a divide among people of color. As 2020 has shown us, what we need to do is listen, learn, unlearn, speak up, and stand together with our BIPOC brothers and sisters against systems of oppression and supremacy that America is. 

So on behalf of the OAP team, we hear you, we see you, and we stand in solidarity with the AAPI community 💛

What do today’s Conservation + Climate Announcements mean for outdoorists?

Today was a big day for climate and conservation in the United States. President Biden signed a series of new policies aimed at tackling climate change. From committing to 30×30 to replacing federal fleets with zero emission vehicles, there’s a lot to digest.

We encourage you to read the “FACT SHEET: President Biden Takes Executive Actions to Tackle the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, Create Jobs, and Restore Scientific Integrity Across Federal Government” in full, but if you’re itching to dive straight to the more outdoor-related bits, we’ve pulled ’em for you to make it easier to understand.

Excerpts below are from the Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad Executive Order: 

  • “directs the Secretary of the Interior to pause on entering into new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or offshore waters to the extent possible, launch a rigorous review of all existing leasing and permitting practices related to fossil fuel development on public lands and waters, and identify steps that can be taken to double renewable energy production from offshore wind by 2030. The order does not restrict energy activities on lands that the United States holds in trust for Tribes. The Secretary of the Interior will continue to consult with Tribes regarding the development and management of renewable and conventional energy resources, in conformance with the U.S. government’s trust responsibilities.”
  • “directs federal agencies to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies as consistent with applicable law and identify new opportunities to spur innovation, commercialization, and deployment of clean energy technologies and infrastructure.”
  • “commits to the goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and oceans by 2030 and launches a process for stakeholder engagement from agricultural and forest landowners, fishermen, Tribes, States, Territories, local officials, and others to identify strategies that will result in broad participation.”
  • “calls for the establishment of a Civilian Climate Corps Initiative to put a new generation of Americans to work conserving and restoring public lands and waters, increasing reforestation, increasing carbon sequestration in the agricultural sector, protecting biodiversity, improving access to recreation, and addressing the changing climate.”
  • “reaffirms that the President will host a Leaders’ Climate Summit on Earth Day, April 22, 2021.”

We are thrilled with today’s actions, but acknowledge that all these positive initiatives and commitments must be met with accountability and follow-through. As we shift our advocacy towards more proactive efforts, we must continue to resolve ourselves to remain vigilante that good policy is not just signed, but put into action.

Here are a few resources from around the outdoor community for more information on today’s big announcements:

Stay tuned with Outdoor Advocacy Project on Instagram and Twitter for the latest updates!

Advocacy Updates: Today is a New Beginning

Outdoorists, today is a new beginning.

The last OAP newsletter was intended to hit your inbox two weeks ago, on January 6th––and every day since then, we’ve opened up the draft, stared at it, attempted to focus, and ended up in a fury of doomscrolling instead. Today, as our country prepares to officially inaugurate our next President today, we’re committing to hitting send and moving towards good changes ahead. 

As the first weeks of 2021 have shown us, we are not out of the woods––we are still deep in it––but the transition of power today is a major fork in the trail, pointing us towards a brighter tomorrow. It’s going to take all of us, and everything we’ve got within, to get through this time and to move forward. We can do this, together.

Amidst the chaotic news cycles of the last few weeks (and months? and entire last year?), a lot has happened in the outdoor and environmental spaces––and as we step into a new era for outdoor advocacy, we want you to feel informed, empowered and ready to take action.

Outdoorsy news you oughta know right now––this week is a doozy, lace up your boots:

Phew, that’s a lot–and a wrap for this week. Stay safe out there, and take extra care of yourself + the community around you. Don’t let this moment pass without taking a pause to reflect on how hard you’ve worked the last four years, and how much more work we have ahead. We’re proud of you.

Got the beta on an outdoor advocacy issue, event, or rad content we ought to know about? Give us the scoop: – we want to hear from you and amplify your nooks of advocacy + the outdoors!

Every other week, we give you a download on the latest outdoor advocacy and community happenings – sign up for the e-mail newsletter or subscribe below and never miss another Advocacy Update when it drops!

Bison in Yellowstone

When are National Park Service Fee Free Days in 2021?

Did you know that every year, the National Park Service designates multiple dates throughout the year where all national park sites are free to the public?

Here are the 2021 fee-free days at national parks:

  • January 18: Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • April 17: First day of National Park Week
  • August 4: One year anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
  • August 25: National Park Service Birthday
  • September 25: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day

Learn more here on the National Park Service official website.

Note: The entrance fee waiver for fee-free days does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.

Half Dome

When is National Public Lands Day 2021?

Started in 1994, National Public Lands Day “celebrates the connection between people and green space in their community, inspires environmental stewardship, and encourages use of open space for education, recreation, and health benefits.” (via It is held the fourth Saturday of September each day.

National Public Lands Day is on September 25, 2021.

National Public Lands Day is the “largest single-day volunteer effort for America’s public lands. It is also a free entrance day for most national parks, monuments, recreation areas and other participating federal sites,” according to the National Environmental Education Foundation.

Volunteer Events on National Public Lands Day can range from such activities as (source):

  • trail maintenance or new trail construction
  • campsite maintenance
  • removing trash or graffiti
  • habitat restoration projects
  • planting trees
  • removing invasive plants/weeds
  • river, lake, or shoreline cleanups
Deb Haaland

Advocacy Updates: Meet the Woman In Charge of Public Lands

Outdoorists, we finally have something to be merry and bright about.

Meet your (soon-to-be) next Secretary of the Interior: Deb Haaland.

After much speculation about who would be the next leader of our nation’s federal parks, public lands, natural resources and more, President-elect Biden named Congresswoman Deb Haaland as his choice for the most outdoorsy Cabinet position. Haaland makes history as the first Native American to serve in a Presidential Cabinet.

Not sure exactly what a Secretary of Interior does? In their own words, the Interior’s job is to “uses sound science to manage and sustain America’s lands, water, wildlife, and energy resources, honors our nation’s responsibilities to tribal nations, and advocates for America’s island communities.”

We are stoked about this news, and look forward to working with Rep. Haaland and the Biden administration to not only reverse the damage done during the current administration, but to forge progress ahead in protecting our public lands and focusing on the intersections of climate change, social justice, biodiversity and our communities.

Other outdoorsy things you ought know:

That’s a wrap for this week. However you’re celebrating the holidays this season, we hope you get out there (safely and Recreate Responsibly), and tag us as you do good on your outdoorsy adventures: #outdooradvocacy!

Got the beta on an outdoor advocacy issue, event, or rad content we ought to know about? Give us the scoop: – we want to hear from you and amplify your nooks of advocacy + the outdoors!

Every other week, we give you a download on the latest outdoor advocacy and community happenings – sign up for the e-mail newsletter or subscribe below and never miss another Advocacy Update when it drops!